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Select the Plants, Then Find a Pot

Focusing on what goes into your container, rather than what it looks like, is a designer’s trick

In her article “Designing Great Containers,” Rita Randolph of Randolph’s Greenhouses in Jackson, Tennessee, writes:

It doesn’t take long for a fun adventure at the local garden center or greenhouse to become an overwhelming, hair-pulling experience. With the bazillion plant and pot choices available, it can be difficult to pick just the right elements for the perfect container planting. Oceans of begonias, impatiens, coleus, petunias, salvias, and Cape daisies can leave anyone dumbfounded. Then there are the rows of colorful terra-cotta, fiberglass, glazed, metal, and plastic pots to contend with. It’s not easy when faced with so many options, but don’t let that intimidate you. 

Rather than wince, embrace the variety and have fun. As with finding the perfect clothes, shoes, and accessories for a special occasion, you have to try a few things on in the store before you find the right outfit. The best way to assemble a winning container combination is not to be shy about mixing and matching plant and container options at the garden center. You’ll soon find a composition that strikes your fancy. 

In this video, Rita demonstrates how to design a container planting by first selecting plants and then finding a pot to match.

Here are a few tips from Rita:

1. Go for foliage, not flowers

When putting together a container, I zero in on leaves first. Flowers are nice, but they come and go.

2. Take a cue from texture

Frilly or bold leaves can be a perfect foil in successful designs. A variety of textures and habits livens everything up.

3. Keep colors simple

To avoid looking too busy, a color palette doesn’t go further than two featured colors (plus green). Sometimes less is more.

4. Match the pot to the design 

Once all of your plants are chosen, look for a container that complements the color scheme.

Previous: A Tidy Way to Pot a Container Next: How to Pick the Right Plants to Accentuate the Container
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Container Gardening

Container Gardening

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