Ease Into Gardening Season With Containers

If you're ready for gardening but the weather – or the level of gardening skill in your house – is still too unpredictable, consider potted plants and flowers.

Container gardening is probably the quickest way to bring a flash of color – and a touch of class – to your entryway or yard.  Best of all, anyone can do it – and inexpensively, too.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • ​Unless you have a large budget, stick to terra cotta pots available in most home-improvement stores. For the price of one glazed ceramic pot, you can often get at least a couple of terra cotta ones. If you want to jazz them up, head to your nearest craft store and ask for terra cotta sealer and paint that will help you transform these humble vessels into eye-catching decorative statements.
  • ​Whatever kind of pot you decide on, make sure it has drain holes at the bottom to prevent root rot. ​If you're reusing old pots, make sure you clean them well with warm water, a mild dish detergent and a gentle brush. This will help to keep your flowers healthy in the event the previous plant was diseased.
  • If you chose a large pot, place large pebbles or rocks at the bottom before you pour in the soil. This will help the drainage holes from getting clogged or the soil from seeping out.
  • Don't set your potted plants right on a wood deck. Raise it to make cleaning underneath easier, and to avoid wood warping from water overflow. You should be watering frequently because many pots are porous and tend to dry out quickly.
  • ​Potting soil, mixed with compost, is usually recommended for container gardens. However, many people find that regular planting soil (which costs less) that's enriched with plant food and watered regularly works well, too.
  • Start with plants that thrive in cool weather. Few plants pack such an early visual punch as pansies, especially if you plant one color per pot. Pansies are hardy, widely available, don't cost a lot, and you can put them out right now.  Snapdragons and Lenten Rose also are good options.

Finally, a word of caution! Container gardening can be addictive and it isn't just for decoration. You can grow everything from herbs and vegetables to evergreens and small trees in appropriately sized pots. And because container gardening is growing in popularity, it can often enhance the desirability of a home, condo or townhome for sale.

If selling your home is in your plans, contact your local RE/MAX agent. He or she can advise other easy ways to enhance the look of your home, and what kinds of gardens appeal most to buyers in your area.

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