The sun is slowly winning the war against the morning frost, which means planting season must be right around the corner. As the leaves return to the trees, temperatures begin to warm up and the grass starts to green it’s time to dust off those gardening gloves and prep for the summer season. Container gardening has risen in popularity over recent years. Easy-to-care-for planters make a great addition to any yard, patio or balcony says Co-Owner of Kuhlmann’s Greenhouse Anita McDonald. “
You can start to plant as early as the beginning of May, if you have the ability to pull the plants indoors when the weather isn’t favourable. If you don’t have the option however it recommended you wait until at least the middle of the month. “Our weather is very unreliable and you never really know for sure,” says McDonald. “We don’t really encourage doing a lot of planting outdoors until mid May.”
To prepare last years planters for this season start by dumping out the pots. McDonald says you should sift through the soil and dig out all the old root systems. When it comes to mixing your soil she recommends going with the half and half method, combining 50% of your soil from last year with 50% new potting soil. “Our potting soils these days are soilless, there’s no black dirt in there. It’s mostly made up of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite,” says McDonald. “So it’s very reusable.”
When it comes to selecting your plants, you have to consider where you’ll be placing the pot. “For the shade definitely begonias are the most popular plant,” says McDonald. “ There’s lots of new proven winner plants that are more foliage plants that like the shade like sweet potato vines, silver nettle vines and just the different types of Ivy.” There are also many popular varieties that work well for sunny areas. “A lot of people like to use a stand by of the geranium, which come in all colours,” says McDonald. “In every container you want something tall, something medium height and then you want the trailers. Bacopa is a very popular plant it comes in blue pink and white. Tailing nemesia in yellow and cranberry is just beautiful.” Trailing petunias are also at the top of McDonald’s list. She says the plant requires very little dead heading and it puts out great performance.
When it comes to selecting your containers, whether it’s ceramic, plastic or a hanging moss-lined basket, it’s important to pick something that has good drainage. “Your container should always have holes in the bottom for drainage,” says McDonald. “Containers without holes, if they are out exposed to the rain and we get 2-3 days of rain, they can get very waterlogged and your soil can go sour and your plants will suffer.”
Overall containers are a great option if you’re looking for something a little more low maintenance. “Flowerbeds of course, there are weeds that grow and that’s an ongoing battle,” says McDonald. “It’s a little easier to plant things above ground.”