How to Guide Plant Large Outdoor Flower Pots & Containers | Mother’s Day Celebration

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Planting flowers for Mother's Day - Blogger Pot Home Improvement Tutorial

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Every year, my mom and I fill large pots and containers with flowers from our local garden shop. We do a special dedicated day on Mother’s Day (or the weekend before), as gardening is one of my Mom and my’s passions. We love to research new gardening tools, what plants are best for pots, etc, together!

We love to fill terracotta and ceramic pots and planters with flowers, as well as do some hanging baskets.

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Blogger posing with flowers for container gardening - home improvement project

Container Gardens FTW!

While we have a large front and backyard we fill with flowers (we’re a little obsessed), we love to arrange a container garden on our front and back porches! These container gardens are so fun to plant, and you can create little gardens for you and your family to enjoy in the spring and summer months!

How do you plant a large flower pot?

Last year, I shared updates on our potting party on my Instagram Story, and so many of you DM’d and messaged with loads of questions!

Gardening can be a great stress relief, but it can be VERY intimidating to learn! This year, I decided it would be fun to share a step-by-step guide on how to create beautiful large flower pots for your patio, backyard or next to your door!

Below, I’ve answered questions like:

  • How do you pick flowers for a container garden?
  • How far apart should you space flowers?
  • What should you put in the bottom of containers or pots? What can you use to fill the bottom of a large planter or pot?
  • How to beautifully arrange flowers by color and size in your container garden
Planting flowers for Mother's Day
How cute is my mom?!

Getting Started: How to Choose a Pot for Your Flowers

Going to your local garden or home store, there are SO MANY pot options! It can be a little overwhelming.

So let’s talk pot sizes:

  • 1 feet Tall: We put smaller pots around our patio table, porch swing, etc.
  • 2-3 feet tall: These are statement containers, and we put them near doors, at the corner of the patio, by the front door, etc.

Buying Pots – New & Used

The best way to find the right pot for you is by trying 3-4! You can find used ones in your NextDoor or on Facebook Marketplace, or choose some at your local garden shop.

We prioritize choosing pots that have a large top opening. The larger this opening is, the more flowers you can add!

Choosing a pot for container gardening with flowers

Key Feature: Drainage Holes

When you water your pot, you don’t want the water getting stuck at the bottom! For this reason, make sure that there are holes drilling in the bottom of the pot before you buy it! It’s a pain in the rear to drill these holes, and some materials (terracotta, etc) will break if you try to drill a hole.

Getting flower pots ready to be used for spring - container gardening

Step 2: Choosing Your Flowers!

For our pots that are 18″ in diameter, we fit about 5-7 plants in them. When arranging flowers in a pot, you want a variety of heights to make it visually interesting.

We plan the placement of flowers by assigning different heights to each section. To make it easy, we treat the pot like it’s a clockface, assigning different flowers to where various hours would go.

Tall Plants in Center of Gardening Pot:

We usually put a “Spike” plant in the center of our pots, where the hands of a clock would originate. Sometimes we put a geranium here, if we want to mix it up!

Planning out flower placement in large flower pot

Medium Height: We then put 2-3 medium heigh plants at 6 and 12 o’clock, sometimes adding a third plant between them. These are usually Snapdragons, petunias, dahlias or zinnias.

planning out design of large flower pot container gardening
Here you can see we’ve put a geranium (about half as tall as the spike!)

Small//Vines: I love seeing a pot “overflowing” with flowers, and you usually get that effect with the use of Potato Vines or Waterfall Petunias. These should be towards where the viewer will see them, and you can place them in between your Medium Height plants.

planning out design of large flower pot container gardening /// waterfall petunia, potato vine and spike
Added a Waterfall Petunia (left) and potato vine (right)

Choosing Flowers for Your Climate (I’m in Northern Utah)

I’m in a dry and sunny part of Utah, which means that all my flowers for my front pots are meant for full sun. You can see what the sun requirements of a flower is by the tag in the flower at the garden shop!

For our back patio, we get a mix of flowers that are partial to full sun. We keep on eye on the flowers, switching pot placements if one pot is getting too much sun, and the flower leaves are browning or burning.

I recommend that you ask your local garden shop what flowers are the hardiest (AKA hardest to kill) for your first pots!

Container garden flower pot for patio.JPG with geraniums
Container garden flower pot for patio.JPG with geraniums

How Many Flowers Can Fit in the Pot?

For a pot that’s 18″ in diameter, we put 5-7 plants:

  • 1 spike or tall plant for the center
  • 3 medium plants
  • 2 small plants or vines

That’s 6 plants per pot!

Step 3: Preparing Your Pots

You’re going to want to purchase gardening soil at your local garden shop. If you have nutritious soil (you can ask the folks at the shop), you may be able to mix in dirt you already have with potting soil.

Potting soil is full of yummy nutrients for your flowers that will help them grow large and flower multiple times!

Switching Out Soil

We switch out our potting soil every 2 years in our pots, taking the old soil to our local garden shop to be revitalized with nutrients mixed in.

Aerating soil for flower pot

Before we plant our flowers, we remove any leaves, weeds or debris from our pots. We also dump the soil into our wheelbarrow to break up the compressed dirt and aerate it. It’s difficult for roots to move through packed soil!

Aerating soil for container garden in large flower pot

Filling the Bottom of The Pot with Disposable Flower Containers

Many new gardeners think they should dump in their potting soil and get started! But wait! You don’t need gardening soil in the first 1/4 of your pot, because you need to make sure water can effectively drain out the bottom!

If your pot is 100% full of soil, the weight of the soil will compress and tightly pack at the bottom – making it difficult for water to drain. Mold and not-so-fun critters can show up, and you can also *drown* your flowers if your pot doesn’t drain!

Packing bottom of large pot with material for drainage

We fill the first 1/4 of our pots with the plastic pots and packs the flowers come in. Just throw them in the bottom, making a layer of 2 packs/pots. Voila! Drainage!

Filling in Soil

Now that you have that layer, you’re ready to pour in soil. Be sure that you stop filling your pot 2-3 inches from the top of the outer lip. You’re going to add in flowers and more dirt, so you want to be sure the pot doesn’t overflow!

Step 4: Placing Flowers & Designing Your Pot

The key thing to remember about planting a pot is that it’s supposed to be fun! I shared my diagram above that we use, but you can chuck that right out the window!

We’ve planted pots with a geranium in the center that’s surrounded by potato vines! We’v dedicated entire pots to Zinnias of different heights.

Caution. Don’t Overfill Your Pot!

When planting, it’s tempting to plant a LOT of plants, so you get that “full” look. Remember that your plants are going to grow, so your initial pots may look a tad empty. This is okay!

Finished flower pot container garden

Step 5: How to Plant Flowers in Your Large Pot

Many people think they don’t have a “green thumb,” because they actually don’t understand how to plant flowers!

Flowers are pretty resilient, but being planted can shock their little systems! Because of this, it’s important to plant them with care.

Tip 1: Not Too Dry and Not Too Wet

Before taking your flowers out of the little plastic packaging, water them the night before you plant them! If a flower is too wet, it will collapse when you take it out of its container, hurting the root system.

If it’s too dry, it will be hard to plant!

Tip 2: Remove Flowers by Pinching at the Bottom of the Roots

You don’t want to “yank” your flowers out of their temporary home! Pinch the bottom of the plastic pack, and continuously pinch out the flower, kind of like how you should start at the bottom of a toothpaste tube!

How to get flowers out of packaging to plant

Tip 3: Gently Loosen Roots

Gently pinch and loosen the root systems of your flower, so it knows that it can spread its roots in its new home! Use the same amount of pressure you’d use on a toothpaste tube or icing tube!

How to loosen roots of flower before planting

Tip 4: Dig a Hole That Fully Covers The Top

When digging a hole for your flower, be sure that it’s deep enough so that you need to cover the top of it with more dirt. Leaving the op of the flower exposed hurts the root system.

How plant flowers in garden pot

Tip 5: Water with Miracle Gro after Planting

We typically water our large pots with 1 gallon of mixed Miracle Gro one time a week, and we immediately water a finished pot with Miracle-Gro as well.

Careful if you have kids, as it does look like Blue Gatorade! Don’t leave out mixed Miracle-Gro, and keep out of reach of your kiddos and pets!

Caring for Your Container Garden

In addition to moving pots in and out of the sun depending on their reaction, there are a few other key gardening tips to share!

Best plant food for health flower pot container garden
This Miracloe Gro can attach to a garden hose, making it super easy to use!
  1. Slug Repellent: We get a LOT of slugs in our garden, and we regularly sprinkle this, making sure to put it in new pots. Slugs will eat entire pots if left unchecked!
  2. Fish Food for Flowers: This stuff is MAGIC, even though it smells. This is nutritious food for your flowers, and I’ve shared a recipe from my Aunt Garla below!
  3. Damp Not Dusty: You want the soil in your pots to be damp throughout the day. If you check the soil and its dusty, it’s too dry!

Plant Food Recipe

1 cup miracle grow powder, 1 cup Epson Salts, 1 cup Alaska Fish Fertilizer. Add a couple tablespoons of Bayer Bug Killer if you see bug damage on the leaves. I stir it up in the Miracle-Gro sprayer and spray the flowers within an hour of mixing, and be sure to water before fertilizing!

Keep Your Flower Tags

There are different types of Snapdragons, Zinnias, potato vines, etc. I recommend you snap photos of all of the tags you have each year, and upload them to your Google Drive. That way, you can find the favorite specific type of a flower. It can be a bummer to find a variety of a flower that you love the look of – but then can’t find because you don’t know its name!

Happy Planting!!

I hope you enjoy your new flower pots! If you found this post helpful, please share it! <3

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