How to plant in a container garden

May 17, 2024, 11:10 AM

container garden shown...

Is the portability and insolation of container gardening worth the frequent watering and fertilization? (Canva)


SALT LAKE CITY – There are many different variables involved with putting together a container garden.

Host Maria Shilaos fields questions for this week’s guest Brian Lloyd with Olson’s Greenhouse. Along with, Taun Beddes, Utah State University Extension horticulturist and co-host of the KSL Greenhouse Show, they cover practical tips on how to successfully plant a vibrant container garden.

Listen below to the first segment of their show.

Plant selection

Preferring to buy pre-planted, Lloyd recommends buying plants that are already matured, and have an established root system.

If you want to start from seed or fledgling, you’ll want to pay closer attention to genetic variability and the tendency to spread.

Olson’s offers plants of all ages, depending on the gardener’s goals and inclinations.

Container size

The container size is crucial and it’s common for gardeners to select a container too small for the plant they’re hoping to grow.

Taun explains that, while there are probably more scientific ways of determining the correct size, you’re typically safe by simply doubling the size of the container you want to use.


Lloyd goes for the set-it-and-forget-it approach to watering, which bodes well for container gardening.

Not only does he put them on drip irrigation but has self-watering containers that you fill once per week. These ‘smart’ containers should be available at any retail gardening store.

However, there is a large effect between the amount of water that goes through your soil and the amount of nutrients that are washed away.

How long do six-month fertilizers actually last? How about three-month?

If we’re not properly balancing the water and nutrients that an average container plant consumes, the plant dies. Affectionately termed “yellowing out,” is when soil nutrients cannot sustain the amount of water and evaporation during our summer’s desert heat.

Potting soil selection

Taun explains that not all potting soil is alike, but you’d be extra safe with Sungrow, Lambert, Premiere, or Fertilome.

It is a good practice to swap potting soils every year, but, especially for large container plants, that can get expensive, time-consuming, and isn’t always necessary if the plant isn’t diseased.

Learn more about container gardening from KSL’s partners in Illinois.

The KSL Greenhouse is on every Saturday from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. You can follow the show on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and on our website.

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How to plant in a container garden