Container Gardening

Customizing a Coco Liner Fit a Half Circle Planter Basket

Half circle or half moon planters can be an attractive way to hang plants on a wall or fence. I have a metal framed planter in this shape hanging outside my front door and I like it very much. However, it’s always been challenging to find replacement coir/coco liners to fit it. Prefabricated coco liners…

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Plant Profile: Colocasia ‘Black Coral’

Colocasia Black Coral and the article's author

“What is that? I love it!” is one of the most common phrases I hear when people walk by my front garden. The object of their affection is Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Coral’, or more specifically, the gigantic leaves of this plant. The common name for Colocasia is “Elephant Ears” and that is certainly an excellent…

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Cinder Blocks: Garden Edging and Planter Combined

Echiveria and hens and chicks growing in a brick

I was looking for some sort of material to edge my vegetable garden beds with at the same time as a friend of mine was looking to get rid of a large stack of cinder blocks. Several trips later (I could only carry 6 in my car on each trip, because of their weight!) I…

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How to Plant a Hanging Basket with Holes on the Sides

A few years ago I picked up a nifty planter that didn’t just have an opening at the top, but also had multiple pockets on the sides.   I knew that this would let me create a hanging basket that was completely covered in plants, instead of just having plants coming out of the top…

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Making a Coco Liner Fit an Oblong Planter Basket

I have a long rectangular planter basket on the side of my house. Pre-shaped liners (like these ones*) don’t seem to come in the right size for it, so I buy coco fibre fabric by the sheet and cut it to size. It’s available from some of the big box stores, from Amazon*, and my…

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How to Easily Remove the Hangers From a Plastic Hanging Basket

I’ve purchased many beautiful plants that came in those ubiquitous plastic planters with the plastic hangers on them. I’m not fond of the look of these hangers, so even if I do plan to hang the plant up, I always take it out and repot it into a nicer hanging basket. Often though, I want…

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How to Prepare a Large Planter Pot for Planting

Large planters provide room for lots of creativity, and add more impact to a garden than you can achieve through a collection of small pots, when planted up well. I’ve gardened a pair of large planters for a client for more than a decade, and had an idea that I’d like a substantial pot of…

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How to Make a Winter Planter Arrangement (2019)

I was really looking forward to decorating my new giant planter pot for Christmas this year, but hadn’t reckoned on needing to do it in a hurry. Warm fall weather lingered here, but then winter was forecast to wallop us with a massive snowstorm mere days after I had picked my last garden tomato. Long…

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How to Attach a Stick to a Pine Cone

I love using pine cones in my winter planter arrangements. They’re a nice decorative touch.   You can buy pine cones with sticks already attached* to them, so that you can anchor them into your arrangements. But if you want to use loose pine cones, whether from your own trees or those you’ve purchased, you…

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How to Have Full, Lush Garden Beds

For the style of gardening I like most and try to maintain, the goal is to have garden beds that are packed full of plants to the point that it looks they’re bubbling out. They’re densely packed in, but each plant has sufficient room to do its thing, and there’s a variety of height, texture…

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How to Tell When a Hanging Basket Needs Watering

I believe that watering is the most important factor in determining whether or not you’ll have success growing plants in a hanging basket. Water them too much and they’ll die. Water them too little and they’ll get crispy and die.   This is true for plants growing in the ground as well (which is why…

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Top 5 Filler Plants for Sunny Containers

Top 5 Filler Plants for Containers in Full Sun

The basic recipe when selecting plants to combine in a planter is to select at least one from each of the categories of thriller, filler and spiller. I provide guidance on selecting the right thriller, filler and spiller for your particular container and growing conditions in my Container Garden Guide, but in this post I…

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How to make a winter planter arrangement

How to make a holiday planter arrangement

Filling planters with holiday arrangements marks the start of the Christmas season for me. I’ve been busy doing just that for the past couple weekends, and love how just a few supplies can be combined to create something beautiful and festive.   I’ve already written about what not to do when creating a winter arrangement…

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How to Paint a Cast Iron Urn

My friends bought a new house last year and asked me for some help with their garden in the spring. The previous owners had left behind a cast iron planter, but it was in rough shape:   Someone had drawn on it with crayon and it was quite rusty. I get that rust on old…

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Winter Decorating Mistakes To Avoid

How to avoid the most common mistakes when making winter planter arrangements

Creating an attractive arrangement of greenery and accessories in your outdoor planters isn’t difficult. But there are a few common mistakes I see, and a few I’ve made myself, so I thought I’d compile a tip list of what not to do.   Using too many accessories Some well selected decorations (including winter urn ornaments…

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The Container Garden Guide

Learn about the Container Garden Shopping Guide

Containers, urns, pots and hanging baskets are a lot of fun to put together and they can add a lot of pizzazz to your garden.     Planters are a big deal for me. I create a lot of container plantings for my own garden every year, along with a few for clients. On my…

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Do I need to use potting soil in my pots?

When I first started growing plants in pots I wondered if I really needed to buy “potting soil” (called “potting compost” in the UK), or if I could use something cheaper, like topsoil or regular garden soil. I read a few articles that said you really should use it, but aside from potting soil being…

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My two best water saving ideas

Using water from ductless split air conditioner to water a hanging basket

I’m always looking for ways to use water wisely–it’s the right thing to do for the environment and it saves money–so today I want to share with you a water-saving/reusing tip that I’ve never seen anyone else try, but which has worked out really well for me. It isn’t something for every household, but maybe…

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A quick & easy upgrade for hanging baskets

hanging basket of geraniums

Hanging baskets are a must have in my garden. In particular, I love to have a big basket of bright red geraniums hanging on the front of my garage. They’re easy to find at a good price and they pack a lot of oomph. What I don’t love is the cheap plastic hanger and basket…

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Coleus, the most useful plant

several varieties of brightly coloured coleus

I noticed an empty open spot at the front of our garden, near the sidewalk. Bare soil (or bare mulch) is a rarity in my garden, by design. Actually, saying it’s by design sounds like have a plan—if there’s an empty space I see an opportunity to cram in another plant! I still have a…

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