Creating A Home

Basics of how to plant and care for a flower pot

May 16, 2019

I'm Chelsy, a single mom in a small town, who loves photographing weddings, and helping photographers build their own businesses

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Today I’m starting a new series I want to call creating a home. This series will be a round up of tips I have figured out as I became a wife.  I don’t have everything figured out, but I still want to share some tips DIY projects and life skills I wish I had learned earlier in my journey to becoming a wife and mother. My hope this series will help you as you transition from bride to wife and from wife to mom if that is what God’s plan for you is! 

So in honor of Weisz Country Greenhouse opening I wanted to take the time to teach you the basics of flower pots. I think flower pots are one of the easiest and most forgiving ways to get into gardening.  You can keep it simple or go all out! We will be going over the first steps before you even go to pick out your pots, what to look for at the greenhouse or nursery, how to actually arrange your plants in your pot, how to care for your flower pot at home, and then give you some inspiration as you plan out your flower pots! 

Step One: Create a Plan

The first thing you need to do is create a plan. The very first thing to do is decide where you will be keeping your plants.  This is pretty important for those of us up here in the north.  What side of the house will you keep your flower pots? I have these three steps on the south side of my house that I have planters for. I also will be putting a flower pot on our deck on the north side of our house. The south side will be in full sun all day. The north side will have morning sun and late evening sun but will be mostly shaded all afternoon.  This means I need to pick flowers that need full sun for the south, and shade-loving flowers for the north. Here is a little cheat sheet for you! 

North – Shade 

East – Part sun 

South- Full sun 

West- part to full sun 

Step Two: Pick a Flower Pot- check the drainage

There is really no wrong flower pot! I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite plus I’m showing you some of my own flower pots for this year. On my south steps, I have long window box type pots. This creates these full steps of flowers that are just beautiful in the summer I’ll be sharing my flower pots and gardening this year on the hashtag #theweiszgarden where you can check out my plant progress! I’ll be sharing our flower pots as well as our flower beds as we rework our yard at our new house! On my back porch, I will be using these white plastic pots I picked up on sale last fall from Target! (fall is my favorite time to look for flower pots since they are usually heavily discounted and I have a good idea of what spots I need to fill after the summer before.  You can also turn a lot of things into flower pots there are just a few things you need to take into consideration.  the first one is the drainage. You don’t want to drown your flowers!  You can drill holes in the bottom of plastic metal, or wood containers to turn them into flower pots.  At the greenhouse, we will often get a tin or metal containers from hobby lobby and drill holes in them to turn them into cute rustic planters! 

Step Three: Pick your plants- Thrillers Spillers and Fillers

There are a few flower pots rules, that you can break, but you have to know the rules to break the rules! Thrillers Fillers and Spillers are three parts to a flower pot that create a well-balanced look.  The thriller is the plant that gives your planter some height.  Early in the season, it’s important to check the tags on your plants to see what the mature height of the plant will be! Your grandma probably used a spike as a thriller now you will find many plants to use as thrillers such as grasses, coleus, salvia or even dahlias. One of my favorite grasses at Weisz Country Greenhouse is the Vertigo Grass. This grass can get up to 5 feet tall, but don’t worry if it starts to take over just trim it back with some scissors!

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Petunias make great Spillers or Fillers depending on if you get spreading or mounding.  The Wave Petunias are spreading and will trail down pots or hanging baskets.  You can find these in every color under the sun including pinks whites reds, purples, stripes, spots, pinwheels, and so much more.  A new color I am loving this year at the greenhouse is Blue Skies petunia.  

One of my favorite fillers is calibrachoa or superbells these are like mini petunias and tend to mound before spilling over a pot! Blue moon punch is so pretty!

Another one of my favorite filler plants is the Lantana.  These are such interesting blossoms that are actually made of many smaller flowers! 

As you pick plants you can arrange them on the ground so that you get an idea of how many of each plant you will need to fill your pot.  You can also set them inside your flower pots before planting them to decide on how you want to arrange them! 

Get the cheat sheet here!

Step Four: Plant your pots

Now that its time to plant you need to get your dirt in your flower pot.  You can purchase potting soil from most hardware stores, nurseries, or places like home depot. Before pouring in your dirt you may want to place some empty water bottles with lids on them in the bottom of your pot.  This will help save on the cost of dirt, as well as make your planters a little bit lighter.  Some people use soda cans but over time the cans will get crushed, and you will need to add more dirt to your pot which defeats the purpose of the cans. 

You will want to mix in a slow-release fertilizer into the soil before planting. This is the one we use at the greenhouse.  This is not a substitute for weekly fertilizing.  You will want to use an all-purpose or a 20-20-20 fertilizer on your flowers once a week. If you have flower pots with a lot of petunias you may want to look for a petunia specific feed since petunias tend to pull a lot of iron out of the soil to keep the plant blooming.  You will know that your petunia needs iron if you notice yellowing of the leaves even with an all-purpose fertilizer. 

Next water down your dirt to help it settle to the bottom and add more dirt if needed. Now it’s actually time to plant.  There are a few different ways to plant a pot.  You can make it symmetrical, or you can back plant it. If you are wanting symmetrical pot put your tallest plant in the middle and then alternate your spiller and fillers around the outside like the drawing below. 

If your pot is going to be up against a house or wall, back planting might be a better choice.  Basically, you want to plant your tallest plant in the back of the pot and then the medium fillers on in front of that and your shortest spillers at the front. Back planted pots are becoming more and more popular! 

Pro Tip: Keep the tags for each plant and stick them in the back of the pot, this is so you can check and see what plants you used and know if you want to use them again, or what to stay away from next year! 

Step Five: Care for you Flower Pot and Enjoy!

Place your flower pot in the sunny or shady spot you choose. Water it down right after planting and start enjoying it! A few days after you have planted your flower pot you may notice some of the blossoms are starting to dry out and shrivel up.  This is totally normal.  Some simple deadheading will clean up your pot quickly and encourage more blooms to appear. In the summer you will need to water daily for most flower pots.  Don’t forget to fertilize once a week to feed your plant and keep it thriving.  

“If you want it to look like an elephant feed it like an elephant.” -less frequent fertilizer will keep the plants smaller. 

Step Six: Preparing for winter.

At the end of the fall after we get the first few frots it is time to clean out your flower pots.  Ideally, you want to pull out all of the plants and root balls and loosen the soil. There is no need to dump out all the dirt, you can use it again next year! This is also a great time to look at the plants you choose and decide if you want to use the same ones as last year, or if a certain plant didn’t do so well. Remember those tags from the pro tip, this is a great time to check those and see what you loved and what was a flop, and what you may like to use again next year! 

If you want to get the flower pots for beginners cheatsheet, you can Get the cheat sheet here! This cheat sheet will walk you through the entire process before you head to the greenhouse, and help you care for your plants when you go home! 

Get the cheat sheet here!
basics of starting and taking care of flower pots, what plants to choose, how to get your soil ready + download

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  1. […] more dahlias! To be honest earlier this spring I was low-key freaking out about where I was going to plant the over 185 dahlias I had being shipped my way. I am so darn grateful to have found a place with […]

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