If you live in a high-rise unit or flat with no yard, but would still like to
get close to Mother Nature, container gardening is the way to go. Container
gardens can create a natural sanctuary in a busy city street, along rooftops or
on balconies. You can accentuate the welcoming look of a deck or patio with
colorful pots of annuals, or fill window boxes with beautiful shrub roses,
azaleas, camellias, or any number of small perennials or annuals. Whether you
arrange your pots in a group for massed effect or highlight a smaller space with
a single specimen, you’ll be delighted with this simple way to create a garden.
If you have steps leading up to your front door, an attractive pot plant on each one will delight your visitors. Indoors, pots of plants or flowers help to create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. A glassed in patio or veranda makes an ideal place to grow those hot-house type flowers that seem to wither and die in the garden, while a window that lets light filter in through a blind is the ideal place for African violets.
Experiment with creative containers. You might have an old porcelain bowl or copper urn you can use, or perhaps you’d rather make something really modern with timber or tiles. If you decide to buy your containers ready-made, terracotta pots look wonderful, but tend to absorb water. You don’t want your plants to dry out, so paint the interior of these pots with a special sealer available from hardware stores. The other disadvantage of terracotta is its weight, but using a strong pot-stand with wheels can solve this dilemma.
Cheaper plastic pots can also be painted on the outside with water-based paints for good effect. When purchasing pots, don’t forget to buy matching saucers to catch the drips. This will save cement floors getting stained, or timber floors rotting. If you don’t plan on painting these pots, choose the lighter colored ones. Black absorbs heat that makes the roots too hot in the summer months. Painting cheap pots extends their life admirably. Don’t forget to also paint the top, inside part down to about 5 cm or the level that the soil will come to.
Always use a good quality potting mix in your containers. This will ensure the best performance possible from your plants. Read the label of the potting mix and if it does not contain fertilizer, add whichever type suits your plants. If you water regularly with a weak solution of liquid fertilizer, your plants will thrive.