The Q&A Archives: Unusual Planting Containers

Question: I recently saw a gardening magazine that said you could plant Halloween colored flowers (orange, black pansies) in a hollowed-out pumpkin. Can you please give me directions on how I would do this? Any special kind of soil required? I would like the setup to last at least through Halloween if planted now.

Answer: A hollowed-out pumpkin shell will only last a few weeks before it begins to deteriorate. You can use regular potting soil and plant directly in the shell, expecting to toss the entire thing into the compost bin, or you can pot up your plants in 4-inch containers and place the containers into the pumpkin. If you plant your pansies in containers, use potting soil and make sure there are drainage holes so the roots won't sit in water. Then crumple newspapers, place them into the pumpkin shell, and put the container on top, so your potted plants are at the right level. Then water as necessary (the newspaper should absorb the excess). After the holiday, discard the shell and sink the pots of pansies into a garden bed so you can enjoy them for the rest of the season.

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