No matter what size yard you have — or even if you have no yard at all — containers give you the opportunity to be a gardening star. Still not convinced? This excerpt from Container Theme Gardens gives nine good answers to the question, “Why try containers?”

Well-chosen container plantings can serve as design accessories around the outside of your home. Or they can serve a simpler function: to give you a spot of color to brighten your day.

But living plants have so much more to offer than just color: for one thing, they change as they grow, marking the changing seasons and giving you a reason to keep watching them. They appeal to your other senses, too. Living, growing plants also provide food and shelter for interesting creatures, such as songbirds, hummingbirds, butterflies, and moths. There are plenty of practical reasons to consider gardening in containers.

Pond in a Pot container theme garden

This “Pond in a Pot” container garden features a variety of plants that thrive in shallow water. Photo © Rob Cardillo, excerpted from Container Theme Gardens.

1. Container plantings provide ideal growing conditions.

Containers make it much easier to supply the right conditions for the plants you want to grow. Simply tailor your watering routine to your plants and set your container in the right shady or sunny spot!

2. They also supply privacy.

Plants are super for providing screening around a pool, patio, or other sitting area, but borders and hedges need a good bit of ground space and take several years to fill out. With a collection of containers, you can block the view of ugly eyesores, screen out nosy neighbors, and give exposed outdoor living spaces a sense of enclosure within just a few weeks.

3. You can start right away.

If you’re brand new to gardening, or if you’ve moved to a new place but have not yet had time to dig beds and borders, containers give you a place to play as soon as you like — no need to rush into landscape design decisions that may turn out to be a mistake later on.

‘Frizzle Sizzle Mix’ Pansy

‘Frizzle Sizzle Mix’ Pansy. Photo © Rob Cardillo, excerpted from Container Theme Gardens

4. Containers allow you to contain your experiments.

Want to try out a new plant or try out a color combination you’ve never used before? Pots and planters let you give plants and partnerships a test run before you commit to planting them in your garden.

5. Container gardening lets you control creepers.

Some perennials, ornamental grasses, and ground covers are lovely to look at but scary-fast spreaders if you let them loose in your garden. When you plant them in containers — and keep them on a hard surface, so their creeping roots can’t escape through the drainage holes — you can appreciate them without worry.

6. Container plantings save time and money.

For around $50 (or up to several hundred dollars, if you want a really nice pot), you can buy five plants that will give you months of pleasure and a container that you can use for several years — and all that will take up only a few square feet of space.

‘Abbey Road’ Coleus

‘Abbey Road’ Coleus. Photo © Rob Cardillo, excerpted from Container Theme Gardens

7. Pots make it easier to pamper tiny treasures.

A garden filled with lush, leafy plants is pretty to look at, but it can be a tough place for small-scale gems, such as succulents, alpines, and dainty woodland wildflowers, to complete with bigger plants. Give these little guys a container, though, and they’ll grow happily with no worries about them getting smothered by more vigorous companions.

8. Container plantings create instant impact.

Need quick color for a backyard wedding, family reunion, or other special event? Fill a collection of containers with flowers and foliage to make your yard look amazing without the multi-year commitment of big in-ground gardens.

9. Containers make maintenance easy.

Keep your containers close to an outdoor faucet and watering’s hardly a chore. Containers are within easier reach for planting and grooming, too — ideal if you have limited mobility. Containers can also keep your plantings safe from rabbits, voles, and other small critters — possibly even deer, if you keep the pots close to your house.

Text adapted from Container Theme Gardens © 2016 by Nancy J. Ondra. Photographs © Rob Cardillo. All rights reserved.

Nancy J. Ondra

Nancy J. Ondra, author of Container Theme Gardens, is a garden writer and editor as well as the former owner and operator of a small… See Bio

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