Answer: It's really important that your planter have drainage holes in the bottom to allow excess water to escape. If there are no holes in the bottom, turn the planter over and drill several 1/2" to 1" holes before filling with growing medium. I've found the best medium for containers of all types is straight potting soil. It's light, it drains quickly and it's easy to re-wet. Regular garden soil can become rock-hard if allowed to dry out, and is almost impossible to re-wet once it becomes too dry. It's also very heavy when wet. With adequate drainage holes in the bottom of your planter you won't need a layer of gravel. Just fill it to within 2"-3" of the top with regular potting soil and it will be ready to plant. Be sure to check your planter daily - containers can dry out quickly during hot summer weather.
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