container gardening ideas

Container Gardening: How to Make Your Own Unique Yard

Container gardening is a great way to customize your yard with a distinctive look while adding plants in a variety of locations and taking care of them easily. Whether you are an experienced gardener or a novice, you can’t go wrong with healthy plants and fun, high quality containers.

Keep reading below for tips on what to use in a container and all the amazing plants you can grow.

SummerWinds Soil for Container Gardening

One of the most important parts of container gardening is the soil. Here are six brands of potting soil we carry that will fit your planting needs.

Container Gardening Soils
  • SummerWinds Organic Potting Soil (developed with E.B. Stone Organics) – Now CDFA approved, this soil is perfect for all indoor and outdoor container gardening. For best results, use with E.B. Stone’s Sure Start starter fertilizer.
  • Ultimate Recipe Potting Soil (by E.B. Stone Organics) – Made with the best ingredients available, this soil works well when container gardening either indoors or outdoors. An all-natural organic soil that helps retain moisture and helps with aeration, this garden soil promotes strong root and top growth. Registered CFDA; pair this soil with E.B. Stone Organics Sure Start fertilizer for best results.
  • Rose Grow Planting Mix (by E.B. Stone Organics) – This organic soil mix is designed to be used as both a planting mix for roses and as a stand-alone potting soil for perfectly suited for roses. Pair with E.B. Stone Organics Rose and Flower Food.
  • Cactus Mix (by E.B. Stone Organics) - is an ideal potting mix for all types of indoor cactus and succulents, palms and citrus.
  • Recipe 420 (E.B. Stone Organics) - is a special blend of ingredients hand selected specifically for the needs of professional flower growers. Our 100% natural & organic formula is carefully crafted to provide the ideal conditions for cut flower production.
  • Raised Bed and Potting Mix (E.B. Stone Organics) - is an ideal soil for any raised bed. It can be used as a stand alone soil or mixed with garden soil. Our Raised Bed and Potting Mix is designed with carefully selected, premium ingredients.

Interesting Option for Container Gardening

One of the most interesting and seemingly popular objects for a container garden is a bathtub; interesting, right? When done right, a bathtub gives a classic and almost retro look to a garden.

If you’re interested in building your own bathtub container garden, here’s a step-by-step guide from SF Gate. Click here for some Pinterest ideas, too.

Bathtubs as Container Gardens
  • Open the bathtub's drain, and then drill at least two more holes about the size of a quarter in the bottom of the tub to allow excess water to drain out.
  • Cover the tub's drainage holes with pieces of fine plastic mesh. This is to keep the soil inside the bathtub.
  • Place the bathtub in the desired location, on top of wooden blocks. The blocks will lift the tub off the ground and aid in drainage.
  • Fill the bathtub with potting soil up to 2 inches from the top.
  • Make a hole in the soil wide enough to accommodate the first plant's root ball. Place the root ball in the hole, and gently pat the soil back in place around the plant's stem. Repeat with each plant going into the container garden.
  • Water the garden until the soil is moist throughout. Repeat every couple of days, as needed as the soil dries out. This will depend on the amount of light the garden receives and the size and types of plants in it.
  • Fertilize with a slow-release fertilizer stick or beads according to the package's directions. These are available at garden supply stores.

Placing Containers in Your Garden

One of the best parts of container gardening is that you can put your plants wherever you want! But be mindful of which plants you put where when container gardening.

Here are a couple of our favorite shade-loving plants that go well in those areas of your yard where the sun doesn’t hit.

Colored Hulk Plantain Lily
    • Colored Hulk Plantain Lily: This bold hosta holds a powerful presence in shady beds and borders with sturdy clumps of incredible foliage. The deeply cupped, heart-shaped, rippled leaves have chartreuse and lime green variegation with striking, deep green, irregular margins.
Guacamole Plantain Lily
  • Guacamole Plantain Lily: This hosta features soft avocado green and yellow marbled foliage with streaks of slightly darker blue-green. Large flower stalks with white lavender blooms release a soft, sweet fragrance. It requires full shade in hot summer areas and provides a striking contrast in both color and texture in the shady areas of your garden.

Here are a few of our favorite flowers that do well in direct sunlight.

Marigolds in containers
    • Marigolds: As Gardening Know How explains, “In order for your marigolds to be ready for planting outdoors in the spring, you will need to start growing marigolds from seed indoors about 50 to 60 days before the last frost date. Start with a tray or pot filled with damp soilless potting mix.” These bright and beautiful flowers make great gifts for Mother’s Day coming up!
Shasta Daisies in containers
    • Shasta Daisy: These are classic summer flowers that are often found in bike baskets, hair designs and stunning vases indoors. When planting this flower, use a container with good, fertile soil. Gardening Know How recommends, “Good drainage is important for the performance of the Shasta daisy as well. While Shasta daisies will take light shade, as opposed to a full sun location, the plants won’t tolerate soggy roots or standing water.”
Roses in containers
  • Roses: Plant these stunning flowers in full sun, in an area that receives a minimum of 6 hours of light each day. Be sure not to crowd your roses when you plant them, as they prefer some airflow, which helps to prevent diseases. Add a couple of inches of mulch over the soil and in the roots of the soil to help deter weeds and keep diseases from getting on your roses’ leaves. Along with mulch, add a healthy layer of organic material such as compost to encourage beneficial microbes and improve and maintain the health of your roses. You can learn more about our incredible roses available here!

Growing Herbs in Containers

Herbs in containers

Another incredible benefit of growing plants in containers is that you can also grow wonderful, fresh and fragrant herbs. Here are a few of our favorite and most popular herbs to grow; click here for the full list.

  • Fennel
    • Uses: Fennel leaves have a sweet flavor and are particularly good in sauces for fish; they’re also useful with pork or veal, in soups and in salads.
    • Planting: Sow groups of 3 or 4 seeds in mid-spring, ¼ inch deep and 18 inches apart.
  • Mint
    • Uses: Brew leaves into tea, or use it to garnish cold drinks. Spearmint is generally used to make mint sauce or jelly. You can also sprinkle dried or fresh leaves over lamb before cooking. This also makes a nice dessert; dip large mint leaves in chocolate and let them harden for a sweet light treat. Mint is also great for digestion.
    • Planting: In autumn or spring, plant 4- to 6-inch pieces of root 2 inches deep and 12 inches apart. Water well. Check roots' tendency to overtake nearby plant roots by sinking boards or bricks 1 foot deep around beds, or by planting them in a large bottomless plastic bucket sunken into a garden bed.
  • Parsley
    • Uses: Mix leaves into salads, soups, stews, casseroles and omelets. Serve fresh as a garnish with meat, fish and onion dishes.
    • Planting: Sow seeds in mid-spring for summer cutting and midsummer for autumn and winter harvests. Soak seeds overnight and broadcast thinly. Thin established seedlings to 9-10 inches apart.

Container Gardening with Strawberries

If you’re interested in growing your own strawberries, you’re in luck! This delicious and juicy fruit is one of the best seeds to grow in a container.

We offer strawberry pots that are available in various sizes: small, medium and large. These charming pots were designed for the outdoors; they are beautiful additions to patios, balconies and porches. Made from high quality terra cotta, they are coated in a terra cotta leak proof paint. Multiple pockets make these pots perfect for strawberries, herbs, vines or succulents.

Did you know that there are a variety of strawberries? Here are three of our favorites:

Strawberries in containers
  • Quinault Strawberry (Ever-Bearing) These are the most popular of the ever-bearing strawberries. They produce large, soft and, more importantly, deliciously sweet fruit. Quinault strawberries are perfect for home gardens, raised beds and containers. They produce fruit from late spring through fall.
  • Sequoia (June-Bearing) These strawberries produce fruit from late spring through autumn. The berries start out firm but soften as they enlarge. The rather large, dark red fruit are simply tasty; they’re also resistant to powdery mildew. Sequoia strawberry plants are widely adapted and recommended for California gardens.
  • Albion Strawberry (Ever-Bearing) This is the perfect dessert strawberry due to its high sugar content! Bursting with sweetness, this newer ever-bearing selection is distinguished by its conical, symmetrically shaped fruit with firm texture and superior flavor. Albion is high yielding, tolerates heat and humidity, and has excellent disease resistance. May remain evergreen in frost-free areas.

Start Container Gardening on Your Own!

Now that you know what soil works well when container gardening, and have a few ideas of what to grow and where to place your plants, you’re all set! Visit your local SummerWinds Nursery for additional tips and advice for a successful container garden.

About SummerWinds Nursery: SummerWinds Garden Centers is a leading high-end retailer of garden and nursery products. Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, SummerWinds operates retail nurseries in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area, and in Silicon Valley, California, making it one of the largest independent retail nursery companies in the west. SummerWinds appeals to both the serious and casual gardeners, with a broad selection of premium gardening products and a friendly and knowledgeable staff.