The grass is green. The dandelions are growing. Its time to plant some flowers! The Des Moines Botanical Center had its annual plant sale this weekend and I stopped by Friday afternoon to pick up some plants for my flower pots and vegetables for the garden. I also went to a new greenhouse, Canoyers Garden Center for more perennials.
Planting flower pots is pretty easy. When you are at the garden center picking out plants I do three things. 1) Look at the colors. I was looking for some ISU red and yellow. 2) Read the tags. The tags note if the plants are for full sun, partial shade, shade, etc. They also note how much they need watered and may also mention if they are good for pots, etc. The tags also say the zone best grown in. Most greenhouses should not stock plants that won't grow in your area. To find your zone, check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. 3) Group plants on your cart as if you were putting them in your flower pot. This will help you decide if you have enough plants and enough variety.
Set your plants in your pots to figure out your arrangement. I like to put a taller plant in the back and shorter ones in front. Don't worry about empty space...the plants will grow and fill in!
Loosen your soil and add a little water. My flower pots have a mixture of potting soil (for better drainage) and garden soil (top soil and compost). My pots are plastic that I spray painted white after not being able to locate white pots that I liked. I prefer plastic because they won't break and are lighter weight (for moving around).
Plants grown in pots are often root-bound. All this means is that the plant's roots were running out of space to grow. Its not a problem because by you planting them in a bigger pot they will now have more room to grow.
However, one thing you must do to encourage the new root growth is to break up the compacted roots. Break them apart with your fingers on all sides.
To plant, use your trowel to dig a hole twice as wide as the soil part of your plant and as deep as the soil part of your plant. Stick the plant in.
Fill around it with soil and give it a good push down in the pot's soil.
Once all plants are in the pot, give it a good drink of water. Continue to water daily, or as needed, until the plants take root (expand their roots into the new soil). Enjoy all summer long!
Emily J. Adickes