Container Gardening

Outdoor Container Ideas for Season Long Color

By Nina Koziol


This week’s featured article provides outdoor container ideas for season long color. Outdoor containers can be very satisfying additions to the garden, patio or deck because with a bit of planning they can be made to provide splashes of color from early spring to late fall.

At our house, pots and window boxes filled with colorful pansies, lobelia and daffodils brightened our cool spring for several weeks. But rather suddenly, in the Chicago area where I live, it’s finally become downright hot! Now, I’m looking to give my containers a make-over with heat-tolerant annuals and a few houseplants. Although some gardeners specifically plant their pots for a summer display only, I prefer to keep my containers looking great as each season changes by switching out the plants.

Just about anything can serve as a container for plants as long as it has drainage holes in the bottom. After drilling a few holes in a deep wheel barrow and filling it with potting mix, I packed it with all sorts of plants — from cool season lettuce and spinach in spring to ornamental grasses, coleus, dill and annual milkweed in summer. In the fall, the grasses are blooming so I switch out the other plants with ornamental peppers and tiny pumpkins.

Wheelbarrow Repurposed as a Container photo by Nina Koziol

No matter what you use as a container, a soil-less potting mix is a good choice — it’s lightweight and drains quickly. Don’t rely on bags of heavy top soil to fill plant pots. Instead, find out how to choose the right mix for your pots.

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