5 Things to AVOID with Spring Planters
by Lynn KirkMar 21, 2022
It’s the time of year when outdoor garden centers overstock their inventory with hopes you’ll overstock your cart. After all, planting a container garden is one of the first rites of spring, right? Not necessarily. Buying plants that look good ensures a good-looking planter, right? Not necessarily. And transferring a few plants to a larger pot is a no-brainer, right? Again, not necessarily.
There are 5 things to AVOID with spring planters:
1. AVOID starting too soon. Don’t let a few days of warmth fool you! In many parts of the country, freezing temperatures can continue through May … or later. Plants in containers can be more susceptible to cold temperatures than those in the ground, and what a disappointment to wake up and discover them limp and lifeless due to a hard freeze. So don’t rely on today’s temperatures, your neighbors’ gardening habits, or a garden center’s eagerness to make a sale. Instead, verify your USDA Plant Zone, which will guide you in determining a “safe” date to prepare and set out your spring planter.
Tip: If you started too early and a freeze threatens, temporarily move the container to a protected area, such as close to a wall, inside a screened porch, or tucked in a garage. Or cover the plants with a light cloth that provides protection without crushing fragile stems and blooms. Just remember to remove the covering the next morning so cold air and moisture aren’t trapped.
2. AVOID high-maintenance plants. Foliage plants may be the tradition, but they’re not necessarily the trend. That's because today’s fast-paced, non-stop lifestyle begs for easy-care plants -- namely succulents! There’s a whole world of succulent plants, so there's a whole world of easy-care options. Unlike those short-time annuals offering only one season of enjoyment, succulents are perennials that keep on growing and going, year after year (as long as they’re provided the conditions right for them). Easy! Succulents also provide beauty and flowers just like foliage plants, yet they require much less water. Easy again! So whether you fill your spring planter with cacti, echeverias, aloes, or haworthias, they'll need watering less often than ever-thirsty foliage plants. Based on succulents' water-retention capabilities, they'll require a nice drink only every few weeks or so -- depending on the time of year, amount of sun, and type of plant. Tip: In this case "less is more," for overwatering is the leading cause of death among succulent plants.
3) AVOID using the wrong soil. Dirt is dirt, right? Not necessarily. Garden centers have rows and rows of various soil blends because it's important to match a plant with its soil preference . . . and once again, different plants have different needs. Few will do well with everyday ‘backyard’ dirt, so don’t fall prey to the urge to save a few dollars by 'digging up, out back.' Conversely, there’s no need to plant succulents in rich organic soil since they're typically hardy without fertilizers. Instead, succulents welcome a soil mixed with additives that encourage drainage. Tip: You can amend garden soil for succulents by adding sand or perlite. Better yet, keep it simple and buy a specially prepared succulent mix from Succulent Market.
4) AVOID monotony. Professional designers will tell you that an attractive planter should include three design elements: a thriller (large focal point), fillers (smaller complementing plants), and spillers (cascading plants). This formula for success relies on plants that vary in size, texture, and form -- not to mention color! Again, succulents come to the rescue because this family of plants is valued for its wide diversity and unparalleled uniqueness. In fact, seldom do two look alike! Tip: Succulent Market not only offers hundreds of acres of options; color photos on its website ease the selection process.
5) AVOID placing planters in the wrong location. The oft-used slogan “right plant, right place” reminds gardeners that every plant has different needs not only in terms of water and soil, but also light. One succulent that prefers filtered light might burn in full sunlight, while another that relishes full sun (like most cacti) might never produce flowers if kept in the shade. Once again, knowing and adhering to preferences will help your plants not only survive, but thrive! Tip: Again, research plant needs before determining which to purchase, whether to plant them in a shared container, and /or where to position your work of art (a.k.a., spring planter).
5 things to AVOID with spring planters is brought to you by Succulent Market: America’s premier retailer of domestically grown succulent plants. To learn more about succulents and their proper care, log on www.SucculentMarket.com and sign up for their blog. And while you're there, check out the assortments and potted collections!