Plants in Containers - Knowledgebase Question

Pfafftown, NC
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Question by jchildre
April 30, 2001
What flowers, plants, and very small trees would be appropriate for planting in deck containers, with full sun in the summer? I've a notive.

Answer from NGA
April 30, 2001
There are so many choices of flowers and herbs that are suitable for containers that you can have lots of fun trying different combinations. Lavender, basil, thyme, sage, dill, chives, lemon verbena, mint, oregano, rosemary, and parsley can be combined with flowers such as nasturtiums, violas, zinnias, portulaca, scaevola, geraniums, and dahlias.These herbs and flowers need full sun, which means at least 6 hours a day. Choose an all purpose potting soil that contains some humus (not just peat moss) and moisten the soil. If you are using clay pots, soak them in water prior to planting so they don't draw moisture out of the soil.

Roses are great plants for growing in containers. Whether clay, wood or plastic, choose a pot with lots of drainage holes in the bottom, and one that will provide adequate room for the roots. The best roses to grow in pots include miniatures, polyanthas and floribundas. In terms of size of pots, bigger is usually better. Choose a pot that's about one-third as tall as the mature plant will be. This will provide a sturdy anchor as well giving the roots enough room to stretch out. Miniature roses will do nicely in a 12-inch or two-gallon pot. Floribundas can go into a 15-inch or five-gallon pot, but a 15-gallon, or even a half-barrel will keep them happy for several years. Use potting soil rather than garden soil to fill the containers and remember to water and feed frequently. Some favorite roses for containers include 'Betty Prior' (pink floribunda), 'Brass Band' (yellow floribunda), 'Europeana' (red floribunda), 'Margaret Merrill' (white floribunda) and 'The Fairy' (pink polyantha).

Let me recommend a great book on the subject: Container Gardening For Dummies by Bill Marken and the Editors of National Gardening Magazine (for more info, check out This takes you through the whole process of design, planting, care, etc. Best of luck and have fun!

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