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Designing Planters & Hanging Baskets

Who’s ready to garden?! Ahhhhh! It’s an exciting time in Calgary!

This week, we’re talking planters! They are a great starting point in the garden by providing instant colour while still allowing you to move them indoors should the weather turn bad. We’re not here to tell you what’s right and what’s wrong when it comes to designing planters. Harness your creativity and let’s get going!

Thank you to everyone who attended our Planter Webinar! We had so much fun with you and hope it inspired you to design your own! If you missed it or would like a copy of the PowerPoint, click Here

Designing Planters

A planter is a container filled with “annual plants”. There’s no limit to what you can plant them in; pots, hanging baskets, barrels, rail planters, or even toilets, as Colin mentioned in the webinar! Planters are not only nice to look at, they help out the pollinators, can be a source of food, and there’s little weeding required!

There are NO WRONG ANSWERS! Unleash your creativity! Be grandiose! Be minimalist! Whatever you want, make it happen.

Starting Point Suggestions:
  • Consider your lighting
    • Sun Annuals: Marigolds, Petunias, Zinnia, Osteospermum, Portulaca, Million Bells
    • Shade Annuals: Begonia, New Guinea Impatiens, Geranium, Bacopa, Creeping Jenny, Fuchsia
    • Food Annuals
      • Sun Annuals: Tomatoes, Strawberry, Cucumber, Peppers, Basil, Mint
      • Shade Annuals: Kale, Lettuce, Spinach, Arugula, Chives, Dill
  • Consider how you’ll view your planter – Against a wall, 360 Degrees, etc.
A side note about Food planters…
  • Require regular care
    • Lots of water
    • Fertilizer (As per package)
How to Plant a Planter
  • Container: Ensure it has drainage. Water sitting at the bottom of your container is bad news for roots…
  • Growing Medium: Grab your fav all purpose soil. We are loving Promix!
  • Amendments: Consider products like Earthworm Castings & Biochar to lengthen the lifespan of your flowers!
  • Identify your
    • Thriller – Your showpiece plant (Geranium, Grasses, Rose, Begona Tomato, Pepper)
    • Filler – The middle plants to fill space (Petunia, Million Bells, Osteospermum, Marigold, Impatiens, Lettuce)
      • This can be 2-4 plants depending on your size.
    • Spiller – Trailing plants that’ll hang down the container (Creeping Jenny, Bacopa, Strawberry
      • This can be 3-6 plants depending on your size.
  • Step-by-Step
    • Fill your container with soil – 3/4 of the pot.
    • Apply your amendments and top with more soil.
    • Starting with the “thriller”, remove pot and place in the centre (or back if it’s going against the wall)
    • Next, the “filler”. Remove pots and place next to the thriller.
    • Lastly, the “spiller” goes beside the “filler” and on the edge of the container, trailing down.
  • Watering
    • Check regularily and water as needed.
      • Overwatering: Causes root rot and a breeding ground for pathogens.
      • Underwatering: Causes poor production of fruits and flowers.
    • Planters may require different watering schedules especially if they are sun loving vs shade loving plants.
    • Best time to water: Early morning! Do not water in the middle of the day until full sun.
  • Fertilizing
    • Follow the package!
      • Too much fertilizer = root burn
      • Too little fertilizer = waste of $$$
    • For annuals, consider a bloom focused fertilizer like this one from Promix
      • Avoid high Nitrogen (First Number)
    • Fertilizing is essential (Especially for tomatoes)
  • Deadheading
    • Removal of “old” flowers
      • This sends energy back into the plant to produce new blooms and extend the life of the plant.
    • Flowers ready for deadheading should come off easily by bending the flower at the base (Geranium) or pulling the flower from the stem (Petunia). It should just come away without much effort.
    • You may also cut dead flowers, but ensure it is a clean cut with clean pruners.
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