Tips for containers:
- Choose big pots, 16" to 18" tall and wide, with drainage. They need less frequent watering, and let plants settle in without quickly becoming overcrowded.
- Use purchased potting mix. It's rich and well draining which plants need.
- Make sure the plants you plant together have the same needs such as all sun lovers or all shade lovers or all drought tolerant.
- Set plants so that the root ball is level with the soil, and leave about 1" from the rim so that when you water it doesn't overflow.
- Choose a thriller, filler, and spiller (a tall, mid-height, and trailer) to fill the space up, out, and down
- It's fun to do monochromatic color schemes, or use contrasting colors
- Mix and match plants at the nursery to see what you like before bringing them home
Julie Chai is the associate garden editor and test garden manager for Sunset magazine. She writes regularly about growing edibles, small-space gardening, outdoor decorating, and low maintenance landscapes. An avid do-it-yourselfer, she loves helping new gardeners get started.