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5 Easy Container Gardening Tips for Newbies

Looking for ways to grow a garden? You don’t have to be an expert gardener or have lots of space to grow beautiful or edible plants in containers. Wait until you see my top 5 container gardening tips for plants and flowers!

And if you are looking for some pretty container recipe combinations? Wait until you see the planting in pots ideas at the end of this post!

When you lack garden space or want to add some color and interest to an outdoor living space, container gardens are the way to go.

They are easy to design, fun to do, and you can change them out seasonally to decorate outdoor living spaces.

Have you tried to garden in containers yet?

Follow these container gardening tips for beginner success!

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5 Simple Container Gardening Tips for Beginners

Container gardening is a great way to add color and interest to any outdoor space. It also allows you to grow plants that you might not have the right garden space, light or soil conditions to grow in.

And we don’t always have a lot of gardening space to grow plants and flowers, so container gardens are a great way to enjoy them.

But sometimes, I also use container gardens when I buy plants on the fly but don’t know where to put them in the garden.

While I have enjoyed expansive gardens both at my former home and currently in my new home, I still add outdoor planters for more visual interest and seasonal color.

Click here if you are new to container gardening and want to learn the basics of design and care.

container garden idea in a vintage urn planter with superwave petunias, bacopa, sweet potato vine, banana plant and eupohorbia

Container Gardening Tip #1 – Start with Smaller Plants

If you’re new to container gardening, start small. Choose smaller plants because they cost less AND require less water and fertilizer than larger ones.

This will help you learn what works for you as a gardener and avoid growing plants that won’t thrive in your garden.

Container Gardening Tip #2 – Grow More Than One Variety

Growing multiple varieties of plants in one container allows you to experiment with different plant combinations.

Look for different size flowers and foliage as well as complimentary colors and textures.

Try planting some herbs together, such as basil and oregano, or tomatoes and peppers.

But be sure to read the labels for all plants to insure plants that will be grouped together in the same pot have the same light and watering requirements.

Nursery Trip with Shana inspecting the plants and reading the labels

Container Gardening Tip #3 – Choose Plants That Are Suitable for Containers

There are several things to consider when choosing plants for containers.

First, choose plants that will thrive in your climate. Before shopping for plants, evaluate the light conditions where you want to maintain each container garden.

Are they in full sun, partial or full shade?

If you live in a hot area, try selecting easy care plants that require less water and day-to-day maintenance.

But most importantly, seek out plants that do well in containers. And several of them do.

If you aren’t sure while shopping, ask the garden nursery staff for assistance.

Happy gardening with dark horse wiegela, peonies and container gardening

Container Gardening Tip #4 – Water Regularly

It’s important to keep your plants watered regularly, particularly during the hot summer months as they dry out much easier.

A good rule of thumb to determine whether your plants need to be watered is to use the cake batter test.

Stick your finger into the soil and if it feel dry about an inch or two down, it’s time to water.

If its still pretty wait, hold off on watering and check back.

The reason you want to keep an eye on watering is because container plants retain moisture similar to a sponge. So plant roots can get waterlogged if they are watered too often and don’t have a chance to dry out between waterings.

Tip: Choose larger containers for gardening because they don’t dry out as quickly as smaller ones.

Closeup of sun loving container idea with petuniasOutdoor Planter ideas for sun
Container Garden Idea for Spring

Container Gardening Tip #5 – Add Fertilizer

If you’re new to growing plants in containers, plants need to be fertilized because nutrients wash out of the soil every time you water.

To feed flowers or houseplants, I recommend using a slow-release fertilizer like THIS so it’s a set and forget approach.

However, if you are growing herbs or vegetables in containers, I recommend using an organic fertilizer like THIS.

And if you are growing shrub or perennials in pots?

I suggest adding lots of soil amendments with your potting soil such as compost and leaf mold to feed plants.

mixed container garden with geraniums, sweet potato vine, coleu, bubble gum pink superwave petunias and bacopa in front of stone wall on bed of river rocks next to astilbe plant.

Pretty Container Garden Ideas

With our new home, I wanted to add lots of plants and flowers in containers to the zen garden to soften some of the hard lines, as well as the new potager garden and front porch.

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know I’ve been visiting the garden nursery A LOT! And I’m noticing that I’m drawn to a particular color theme this year too.

Pink is the color of the year for me in the garden this year.

In some seasons, it’s purples and others, its yellows. But this year, I’m all about pink in my container gardens.

Gorgeous container garden with ranunculas and pansies in front of flowering crabapple trees in spring with lenten rose -Gardening 101: Container gardening basics for beginners

Maybe it’s because we have expansive green fencing that surrounds the gardens. Or maybe it’s because those pink flowers and foliage were speaking to me at the garden nursery this spring.

Whatever the reason, my gardens are getting pretty in pink this year with some gorgeous containers filled with annuals and foliage.

And while my containers have some different mixes of plants, the recipes are somewhat the same.

So if you are feeling the pinks with me too, you will love these plant combinations.

Wait until you see these gorgeous pink flowers and foliage ideas!

close up of whiskey barrel planter with pink geraniums, calibroca, bacopa, latte superwave petunias, euphorbia, coleus and canna lillies

The Front Yard Garden Whiskey Barrel Planter Idea

Oh how I love these whiskey barrel planters!

I bought them last year and they look so rustic and beautiful, don’t they? These planters are very heavy and were not easy to move from our old house to our new home.

But we did it and I am keeping them in the same general area outside of my garden garages and the new cottage garden.

Because these planters are so big and needed a lot of soil, I lightened them up to save money using this spring gardening hack.

To cut down on the cost of potting soil, I filled the bottom 1/4 with plastic nursery pots that I crushed down. Then layered the top with good quality potting soil.

It’s really important that you don’t overfill the bottom with pots because there needs to be enough soil in the container for plants to grow their roots down into the soil.

close up of annuals in a planter that include coleus, geraniums, bacopa, euphorbia and canna lillies.

List of Plants Used in the Whiskey Barrel Planters

  • Canna Lilly
  • Pink Geraniums
  • Bacopa
  • Euphorbia
  • Supertunia ‘Latte’
  • Coleus
close up of superwave petunia latte and coleus

How I Planted These Whiskey Barrels

I have 3 whiskey barrels in total and placed them along the driveway and they are each planted the same to maintain continuity with color.

I started with the canna lilly, and planted it in the center of the barrel. Canna lillies grow pretty tall, so they make great thriller plants for container gardens.

Next, I added three of each: pink geraniums, coleus, and euphorbia plants immediately around the canna lilly as filler plants. When both grow during the season, they will hide the base of the canna and weave amongst themselves making a striking combination.

Then I added three bacopas and three supertunia plants to spill over the sides of the whiskey barrels to soften the hard lines of the rim.

close up of coleus, pink geraniums and superwave petunia latte

It Helps to Have a Potting Bench

To raise your workspace so there is less strain on your body and organize all the things, you totally need a potting bench. There are so many wonderful options you can buy that will accommodate any garden space or budget.

I found some great ones that I would LOVE to have. Some are so pretty yet functional. And if you aren’t that big into gardening, they would even make great decor for a porch or patio.

Click here to shop for potting benches.

Containers for Gardening – What Should You Choose?

When it comes to garden containers, there are lots of different options available with pros and cons of each.

Which container should you choose?

That will depend on your goals, plants, and gardening needs. Learn the best fit and what type of container for gardening you need here.

Shop For Planters Here

And if you are looking for new planters to pot up? Check out these pretty planters that I found!

Garden Supplies I Use

I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. From pruners to deer repellents, here are some of my favorites in no particular order.

Click here to shop my vintage farmhouse with close up of the front porch with flowers

Looking for More Container Garden Ideas?

If you are just starting out with container gardening, click on one of the photos below to learn some design and care basics, as well as some inspirational posts.

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close up of spring annuals superwave petunia latte, pink geraniums and coleus
close up of front porch garden with container garden of pansies and hosta - 5 easy container gardening tips for newbies
sedum autumn joy superbells supertunias and zinnias in the front yard cottage garden by the porch

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Thank you so much for following along.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

Stacy Ling

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  1. I’m loving all your tips here Stacy. Wine barrels are my favorite containers for my outdoor plants and flowers.