The folks at Fred Meyer recently reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in teaming with them on a post about container gardening. Of course, this is right up my alley so I agreed! When I told the kids that I’d be headed to the Fred Meyer Garden Center, they wanted to come along for the ride. (They share my love of plants and gardening.)
So what’s so great about container gardening, anyway? Here are some of the potential benefits I can think of – maybe you can think of others, too:
- Plants in containers are portable. Plants grown in containers can easily be moved as you please. Perhaps you’ve decided you’d prefer the container in a different spot in your yard. Or maybe the plant would do well in a sunnier spot. Or maybe it’s a plant that’s not frost tolerant and you’d like to move it indoors for the winter.
- Plants in containers may be easier to manage. Container gardening is a great option for kids or persons with limited mobility. While you will need to stay up on watering and fertilizing, other tasks like weeding and pruning may be easier to tend to.
- Plants in containers can bring nature to otherwise sterile spots. A bare porch or deck can be transformed to something special through the use of a few containers. Many people enjoy bringing potted plants inside or into an office for a touch of nature.
Of course, it can be overwhelming when you start thinking of all the potential container + plant combinations out there! To get you started, I thought I’d share 8 simple tips for getting started with container gardening. Since this is a frugal living blog and we’ll be shopping at Fred Meyer, I’ll make sure to keep these ideas as budget-friendly as possible!
Tip #1: It’s OK to use a variety of planters!
It might seem like a good idea in theory to buy all matching containers filled with all matching plants – but in practice you may find it’s very challenging to keep those plants looking 100% symmetrical all growing season!
Take the pressure off yourself (and save some money) by experimenting with a number of different planters and containers. Dust off any you have laying around (that aren’t broken and in good shape, of course!). I also found a number of really fun styles at Fred Meyer – terra cotta planters, ceramic, glass, even sturdy plastic. Lucky me, they were all 25% off during my visit. I even found a section on clearance!
Here is my favorite seating area in my garden:
Tip #2: Select the Right Plants for the Right Area
I have a covered porch that I’ve been wanting to add some planters to for awhile. I decided to poke around my Fred Meyer’s Garden Center to see what I could find.
I gravitated to the fern section – they are shade lovers. (Which explains why you often find them in the understory of a forest!)
I chose two different ferns along with a plant called “Creeping Jenny” which also prefers the shade. The black fern (toward the back) should over time grow in height, while the Creeping Jenny should start to cascade over the side of the container. Play with different textures and colors like this for fun! You don’t have to add a lot of plants, either – maybe pick 2 or 3. (And remember, plants will grow big, so give them room!)
Tip #3: Consider growing some edibles in containers.
If you’ve followed my blog, you know I’ve grown many different fruit and vegetable varieties in raised beds and containers – including squashes, berries, herbs, greens, and more.
Fred Meyer is already selling their Veggie & Herbs starts! Cherry tomatoes, kale, peas, and cucumbers are just a few examples of veggies I’ve successfully grown in containers.
Here are a couple of blueberry bushes, growing quite happily in containers! We noticed that Fred Meyer is currently selling a number of fruit varieties that would work well in a container.
Strawberries are another edible that takes well to containers.
Not only can you find strawberry plants at Fred Meyer right now, we found these peek-a-boo containers with plants already assembled for just $19.99! A nice choice if you want the look, without the work.
Tip #4: Grow vertically in containers!
I LOVE growing plants that will quickly shoot up a trellis! Many of these can be grown in containers, too.
I was delighted to find this pink jasmine at Fred Meyer over the weekend. It smells absolutely incredible! I think it will be especially lovely in summer, after it’s grown in a bit.
While there, we also picked up a honeysuckle. Not only will these tall, vertical plants make a beautiful statement in the garden, they’ll attract hummingbirds and bees – something that’s very important to me.
Here are a few other examples of plants you could grow in containers to train up a trellis or fence:
At left, we have a couple kiwi vines growing up over an arbor. In the upper right hand corner, nasturtium is extremely easy to grow from seed and grown over a simple bamboo tee-pee trellis constructed from materials I purchased from Fred Meyer. At bottom left, clematis is a very showy, fast-growing flower. I purchased one of these plants last year, then it died down over the winter, and is already shooting back up again this spring!
Tip #5: Grow plants that would otherwise take over your yard!
What they say about mint is true – if left to its devices it will take over your garden! One way to control plants like mint is to put them in containers.
Another plant I have growing happily in a container is chamomile:
This attractive flower makes the best homemade tea – but will spread all over if you let it! Containers can be a great way to reduce your gardening and keep plants in their own separate spaces.
Tip #6: Create a Kitchen Herb Garden.
Container gardening allows you to bring some of the outside – inside! I knew I wanted to create a simple herb garden for my kitchen. After perusing the planter section of my Fred Meyer store, I decided to check out the storage area as well. Look what I found!
These small pails with chalkboard labels were just $6.99 – and exactly the type of look I was going for. Here’s my completed containers:
Wouldn’t this make a lovely gift for Easter or Mother’s Day?
Tip #7: Involve your kids.
Container gardening is one of the easiest ways to introduce your kids to gardening.
My daughter loves flowers, and they are really quite inexpensive.
You can start small, too, with a single flower or plant in a container. Here’s a planter my daughter decorated last year!
My son loves looking at all the plants and I like to involve him in the selection, too.
It’s always coming home with a car full of plants!
Tip #8: Keep it Simple and have fun!
It can be very easy to get caught up with all those pretty ideas on Pinterest, can’t it? But many of those ideas are more “Pinteresty” than practical. Go for practical and simple versus complicated and spendy! As your green thumb grows, you can expand your container garden.
The most important thing is to keep it fun and enjoyable.
I hope today’s post has provided some useful tips and inspiration to get you gardening! I’d love to know what additional tips, ideas, or questions you might have for me. Please leave a comment below!
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Disclosure: Today’s post was sponsored by Fred Meyer. All ideas and concepts are fully my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy for more information.