9 Ways to Master Container Gardening

Container gardening is a great way to enhance your curb appeal and life without a landscape design or a large garden space. We’ve come up with 9 ways to master container gardening. If you’re limited to a small yard, home balcony, or minimal sunshine then container gardening may be the best bet for you! Not only can you choose the perfect location of your container but it’s also easy to bring containers inside due to colder weather.  


At brick&batten we aren’t landscape designers, but we do know containers! Different home styles look best with different planters. Before you start purchasing containers, it’s important to know what you’re getting into and the best way to keep your plants happy. Nothing is worse for curb appeal than a beautiful planter by your door with a dead, wilted, and bug-ridden plant inside.  


We believe container gardening adds versatility to your garden space. Plants provide a variety of color and can be used to create a focal point around your doorway or porch. Your containers may be placed on pedestals, in your existing garden, on porch steps, in window boxes, hanging from a front porch, or flaking either side of your door to welcome and greet guests. The possibilities are endless. 

9 Ways to Master Container Gardening


#1. Container Sizes

When choosing containers it’s important to choose the right size for your space but also the right size for the plant or flower.  There are factors that determine how large or deep your container might be for the best outcome. Is the plant a perennial? Annual? Does it grow rapidly? What is the average size? Is the root system extensive? If roots spread, they need a place to go. That said, they need a larger pot or container for room to spread out. If the area is too small, the plant will dry out and eventually die.  Large containers hold more soil, which stays wet longer and doesn’t react as quickly to temperature changes. Generally a bigger pot is better!


#2. The Rule of 3

Many times a smaller planter looks nice in a grouping.  Think: The Rule of 3.  This means choose 3 similar planters in different sizes. They don’t need to be exactly the same color or style.  Instead consider three different shapes, heights, and materials.  A grouping of three planters creates a larger footprint and adds interest to your space.

container gardening- rule of 3


#3. When to Change Containers

When you bring your plant home you may place it into a pot that’s the same size or a tad larger than the one it’s growing in. When your plant has outgrown its current pot, switch to a pot that is 2-4 inches larger in diameter. This will give your plant room to spread out, grow, and adapt to its new home. 


#4. Container Material

Terracotta planters are on the rise in 2020. Putting off an earthy vibe with a variety of sizes, they appeal to many homeowners. Clay or terracotta work best in warmer climates because they are breakable under thawing and freezing temperatures.  

Terra cotta containers

Concrete containers are very heavy but also can be very beautiful! They won’t crack or peel and tend to work in every environment. Because they are difficult to move, they are best used in a stationary place and are not ideal for balconies.  Concrete can be mixed with fiberglass blends to make them lighter.

Plastic and fiberglass pots are also an option.  They tend to be less expensive and light weight. That said, there are different types of fiberglass and plastic… cheap plastic will not last, become brittle and crack. It may serve a purpose, but a chipped pot won’t look as beautiful around your porch or door area. 

Wood planters are gorgeous if treated to withstand environmental elements.  Cedar, teak, and shorea are weather resistant 

Self watering containers come in a variety of styles and sizes. These containers work on a reservoir system. There is a water storage tank, usually at the bottom of the container, which needs to be filled when empty. There is an overflow hole, so excess water simply drains away. The soil soaks up the water from the bottom, so keeping your reservoir filled will ensure your plants get a consistent level of water that your plant roots will love. 


#5. Container Drainage

Drainage holes are essential for a healthy plant. Without the appropriate drainage your soil doesn’t have any way to get rid of the excess water. That said, plants may become water logged and die. If the tip of your plants’ leaves are brown, that’s a sign you may be overwatering! Finding a container with drainage holes is ideal but many times you may drill some yourself.


#6. More Fertilizer, Please

Plants grown in containers have limited space available for roots to stretch out and find nutrient rich soil. Even with the best soil available, additional feeding may be necessary to ensure a healthy plant. Check out this guide for choosing the best potting soil.


#7. Know Your Plant Hardiness Zone

Every area in the country has a plant hardiness zone, which measures the lowest winter temperatures a plant can survive. Learning which zone you live in is a helpful parameter for knowing which plants will thrive in your climate. With containers, plants may be brought inside when the temperature isn’t ideal; however, it’s nice to know you don’t have to drag your plants in and out and they will survive in your outdoor container. Zones are listed on the back of the plant tag you’ll find when purchasing.


#8. Plant Tags Are Useful

When purchasing your plants, they come with tags that stick in the soil.  These are important to read and save. They will tell you how big your plant will get, how much water, food, and light it prefers, as well as, how much care it will need. The tag will also tell you if your plant is annual or perennial. Finally, the tag will also explain the way your plant will grow and the shape it will take. Find more information on how to read a plant tag here.


#9.  Perfect for Beginners

If you’re like me, I don’t have time to maintain a big garden. I love the look of lush plants but I don’t have a green thumb or the energy to develop one.  That said, container gardening is a great place to start by building confidence. It’s manageable, easy to maintain, and requires little to no digging. 

Overall, any planters can be used for container gardening. If they hold soil and water and provide enough room for the roots to spread out and growth, then you’ve found the perfect container! Containers also require less weeding, save on water, and are movable to accommodate plants that require different levels of sunshine. Find the perfect plant for your hardiness zone and the perfect container for your personal taste and home’s architectural style and wow, you’re one step closer to curb appeal greatness.


Planters are a start, but if you’re looking for more help with curb appeal, please contact us at brick&batten. Our design team would love to partner with you on a home exterior design, showing you a visual rendering before you commit to expensive and unnecessary changes. Get started with our simple questionnaire.