Urban Gardening-Plants for Container Gardening

When I think of gardens, I can picture the lush English gardens from those period movies such as Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. I didn’t even know small space gardening was a thing until I got into it. I am still learning the ins and outs of urban gardening but thought I would give you some ideas on plants for container gardening.

Ever since I got serious about gardening, I pretty much have been buying small plants I think are pretty, get a small container and hope to not kill the plant. Right now my garden consists of succulents, some tropical plants, then a small variety of small flowering plants that look like they would grow well in containers.

plants for container gardening

 

For the most part, this has worked well. I have not had success keeping lilies, tulips, and most recently, lavender in containers. All the other plants I have seem to like where they are, for the time being.

Container Gardens

What are container gardens, exactly? Container gardens are exactly what the name entails, a garden where the plants are kept exclusively in containers, instead of in the ground.

There are a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles of containers that appeal to anyone. Since I’m on a budget and limited to space, most of my containers are plain but sturdy. This works well for me since I want the focal point of my garden to be the plants themselves.

plants for container gardening

Why Container Gardening?

Container gardens are perfect for people who want to garden but don’t have any ground to work with, such as myself. I have a small balcony and utilize it for my container garden as best as possible.

Containers are also great to use to accent a large garden, specific area of a garden or a porch. There are limitless ways to use a container garden.

plants for container gardening

Containers versus Planting in the Ground

Both container gardening and traditional ground gardening work great. It really counts on what you have to work with, personal preference, the plants you have and what you want to grow.

Plants for Container Gardening

I have discovered over the past year that there are many types of plants that grow well in containers. Below I will discuss just a few of these plants.

plants for container gardening

Nemesia

Nemesias don’t grow very large, which makes them the perfect container plant. They come in a variety of colors. Nemesias require full sun, so they need at least 6 hours of sunlight.

Double Impatiens

Double impatiens are small, colorful flowers that are easy to grow in containers. They can grow from 6 to 30 inches tall. Make sure the soil you use is good drainage soil for the flowers.

plants for container gardening

Snapdragons

Snapdragons can be easily grown in containers as well. Snapdragons can grow from 8 inches to 3 feet tall. Deadhead flowers when they are past the blooming stage to encourage the plant to continue to grow flowers.

plants for container gardening

Calendulas

Brightly colored calendulas need full sun to grow well. These daisy looking flowers grow from 18 to 24 inches tall. Calendulas help keep insects away, which is an added bonus to including these in your container garden.

plants for container gardening

Herbs

There are a variety of herbs to choose from, so much that you can create an entire container garden out of herbs. Rosemary, mint, sage, thyme, and oregano are just a few of the herbs that you can grow in containers. Some of these can be grown together.

plants for container gardening

Petunias

These versatile and colorful flowers are another great choice for container gardening. Petunias grow well in containers and hanging pots, with different colored petunias and other flowers. Only a few should be grown together at a time to avoid overcrowding.

plants for container gardening

Morning Glories

Morning Glories are trailing plants with beautiful blue flowers. Since they trail, when put in a container they need a trellis to encourage growth upward. Morning glories can grow up to 8 feet tall.

plants for container gardening

Osteospermums

Osteospermum plants are also known as African daisies. These flowers come in pinks, purples and other colors. African daisies need plenty of sun to grow and flourish in containers.

plants for container gardening

Marigolds

Marigolds grow very well in pots. Some types grow very tall and may seem to look to overpower the container. My French marigolds are a little smaller than traditional marigolds and fit perfectly in the hanging side containers I have them in.

Don’t grow too many marigolds together in a pot. I have 4 French marigolds in each pot, which looked too much at first, but so far they are growing nicely.

plants for container gardening

Gerbera Daisies

Gerbera daisies also make great container plants. I should know, right now I have yellow and pink gerbera daisies in two different containers on my balcony.

Gerbera daisies need partial to full sun. To keep them growing flowers, make sure to deadhead the daisies.

plants for container gardening

Advantages of Container Gardening

There are many advantages of container gardening. Below I will mention just a few of those advantages.

  • Container gardening is a great way for beginner gardeners to get more experience in gardening.
  • Gardening with containers only is great for people like me who have no ground soil and small spaces to work with.
  • Container gardening is a great way to encourage kids to learn about plants and gardening.
  • Wildlife is less likely to get into plants in containers versus plants grown in the ground.
  • Since containers are portable, they can be moved around in a design or arrangement of your choice.

plants for container gardening

Disadvantages of Container Gardening

There are generally fewer disadvantages to gardening in containers.

  • Plants are limited to the size of the container they are growing in. I try to buy plants small enough so they can grow well into the container they are planted in.
  • Plants grown in containers tend to dry quickly and need more watering.
  • The soil in containers needs to be replaced every year since the soil loses nutrients that plants need to grow well in.

plants for container gardening

Closing Thoughts

I hope you learned something new about plants for container gardening or was inspired to start your own container garden. I only have a few of the plants mentioned above but would love to add more of these flowers to my container garden.

Do you have other plants that grow well in containers that I did not mention above? Let me know in the comments section below!

Bring Hawaii to You-Plumeria Care

I was lucky enough to go on two family trips to Hawaii when I was younger. I still remember getting off the airplane to be greeted by a Hawaiian woman who put a beautiful lei of plumeria flowers around my neck, as well as all those plastic plumeria flower souvenirs in many of the souvenir shops all over the islands. I now enjoy my own plumerias in my backyard and would love to share my plumeria care tips with you.

Before I talk about plumeria care, I would like to briefly discuss the origin and history of plumeria plants. It is quite interesting.

plumeria care

Not a Hawaiian Native

I don’t know about you, but when I see a plumeria flower, a motif or logo of one, I immediately think of Hawaii. Did you know these fragrant trees are not originally from the Aloha State? Neither did I!

So, where are these beautiful plants from anyways?

Origin of Plumeria

The plumeria tree is originally from the Carribean. This makes sense since the Carribean is another tropical area, although I do not think of plumerias when I see or hear about the Carribean. Maybe pirates but definitely not plumerias!

plumeria care
Leaves from a plumeria tree.

Plumerias also originated in Mexico and Central America. From these places, plumeria trees spread to other tropical areas as well.

Nifty Name

The plumeria plant was named after Charles Plumier. He was a French botanist who studied many plants in the Americas.

Another name for plumeria trees is frangipani (plumeria rubra). A 16th century monk named Marquis Frangipani was known for a perfume he made. The plumeria flower’s scent and that of Frangipani’s perfume are similar to each other, hence the other name for plumeria plants.

plumeria care

Hello from Hawaii

The plumeria tree was first introduced to the great state of Hawaii in 1860. There is now such an abundance of plumeria plants in Hawaii that many people assume its a native plant.

Where Can Plumeria Trees Grow?

Plumeria plants can definitely grow in tropical areas, but where else can they grow? Plumerias can be grown in a variety of places, as long as the tree is brought in during the winter. USDA zone 10 are where plumeria trees grow best though.

I remember driving around Orange County, CA last year, seeing all the beautiful plumeria blooms thinking, I must have one! I am now the proud owner of two small plumeria trees.

plumeria care
My two plumeria plants in my little urban garden.

Types of  Plumeria

There are many different types of plumeria trees in a variety of colors. One of the more common trees is plumeria rubra aztec gold. The flowers on this tree are white with a gold yellow center.

There are other variations with more or less gold, as well as more or less white on the flowers. They are all beautiful. Mine are a variation of gold and white flowers.

plumeria care

Other types of trees have pink and white flowers with different colored centers. I’ve seen blue and purple ones online, but I heard these were fake blooms. I’ve seen many white, yellow and pink plumerias while driving around my neighborhood.

I hope to own other colors of plumerias, but will enjoy my yellow and white flowered ones for now.

Plumeria Care

Caring for plumeria trees is quite easy. They can be grown in the ground or in containers. I have my two small plumeria trees in pots and they fit perfectly in my little balcony garden.

plumeria care

Plumerias grow based on the space that is available to them. These plants can spread out and grow as tall as over 20 feet. As container plants, plumerias will grow as much as the pot they are in will allow.

Plumerias are commonly sold as cuttings. The tree I bought was sold with some soil in its small pot. These plants have thin root systems, so it was easily tranferred into a slightly larger pot.

The other plumeria I received as a gift from my best friend’s in-laws. They told me to let the cutting dry out in the shade for a few weeks, then plant it. This tree is currently growing in some beautiful leaves.

plumeria care
Beautiful plumeria leaves!

Planting Plumerias

If you plan to plant your tree in the ground, use half native soil and half well draining soil. A cactus, palm and or desert soil will work great.

If potting the plant, you may want to add gravel or Perlite to the bottom. I added a few inches of mulch to both my potted plumerias and they are growing fine. Make sure that the containers have a hole for water drainage.

Fragrant Flowers

When I bought my first plumeria plant at the end of last summer, I expected it to start producing flowers right away. I’ve had it for almost a year and it just started blooming gorgeous yellow and white flowers. I’ve had to learn patience with this plant but its been well worth the wait.

plumeria care
Another flower is blooming!

The flowers are refreshingly fragrant. Each flowering tree has its own distinctive fragrance to enjoy.

How Much Water?

Plumeria trees are hardy plants that do not require much water. Plumerias need to be watered regularly while the leaves and flowers are blooming. Once the plant’s leaves fall off during the winter, it does not need to be watered.

I have been tempted to water my plants when they don’t need any, but try to hold back since I heard that over watering is a common reason plants die, especially here in Southern California where many plants thrive with little water.

plumeria care

Winter Slumber

Something else I learned about plumeria trees are that they become dormant in the winter. When the leaves fell off at the end of the year, I thought I had killed my plants. I wanted to throw them out when this happened, but took my husband’s advice and kept the plants.

I’m glad I did, since now I have two beautiful trees! One is producing flowers while the other is producing leaves. I’m not sure why one is not producing flowers, but I’ve only had it a few months so I may have to wait another year before I get to enjoy its blooms.

plumeria care

Ending Thoughts

I knew the basics of plumeria care before I began researching for this blog post. I have learned so much more since and I hope you have learned a thing or two about plumeria care as well. Feel free to add your own tips on caring for plumeria trees below!

No Birdfeeder Needed-How to Attract Hummingbirds

How to Attract Hummingbirds

When I had a larger porch, I had several bird feeders to attract hummingbirds and other birds. I could buy feeders now, but accidentally and delightfully discovered that some of my plants attract hummingbirds. I even took a gardening class on how to attract hummingbirds by selecting specific plants they like to feed on.

How to Attract Hummingbirds
Since I’m all about saving money, I have added some plants to my garden to attract these beautiful birds to my balcony. I love the fact that I can bring in hummingbirds and other wildlife just by the plants I choose to grow.

Why Hummingbirds Like Certain Plants

Hummingbirds love plants with flowers in a variety of colors, but they are most attracted to plants with red flowers. The red color reminds these little birds of food. It’s also a color to camouflage them from bees.

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Colors

Hummingbirds like feeding off of flowers that are yellow, orange, pink and red. Red is a more popular color, but hummingbirds have fed off my yellow and orange flowering plants as well.

Size

Hummingbirds will drink from large and small flowers. As long as a flower produces nectar, hummingbirds don’t care how tiny or huge the nectar is coming from.

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Shape

Since hummingbirds have long, thin beaks, it is common to see them feed off of flowers with the same shape. They can drink nectar from small, thin flowers, as well as large open flowers. This is why it’s a good idea to have different types of flowers in your garden.

Types of Plants Hummingbirds Enjoy

As stated above, hummingbirds love a variety of flowers in different colors. There are particular flowering plants they get nectar from more than others. I will explain to you these flowers below.

Hibiscus

Hummingbirds love these plants with their huge, colorful flowers. I have an orange and pink hibiscus plant that hummingbirds love to drink from. These plants come in a variety of colors and are a great addition to any garden.

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Lantanas

Lantanas are another great flowering plant to add to your garden to attract butterflies. I love my pink and yellow lantanas. I have seen them in yellow, orange and purple all over town. There are over 100 species of lantanas to choose from.

 

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Marigolds

Marigolds are another colorful flowering plant that can attract hummingbirds to your garden. I bought mine to keep aphids from my hibiscus, so if they can also attract hummingbirds to my garden, that is an added bonus!

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Zinnias

Zinnias are additional colorful and inexpensive flowers to add to your garden to keep hummingbirds coming back. They are easy to grow and just need to be watered on a regular basis. Zinnias come in a variety of beautiful colors!

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Fuchsias

Another personal favorite are fuchsias. These also come in a variety of colors. I love watching hummingbirds drink from my hanging fuchsias.

How to Attract Hummingbirds
Fuchsias can also be grown in several ways. They grow great in hanging pots or on a vine. Either way, hummingbirds will come back for the sweet nectar these plants produce.

Petunias

Petunias are popular flowers that keep hummingbirds returning for food. Pick a color, then enjoy as hummingbirds relocate to your garden for food.

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Salvia

Hummingbirds also love the red hue of salvias. These flowers also come in other colors, although red is popular.

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Friends

Many of these plants also attract butterflies. Some days I have both hummingbirds and butterflies visit my small balcony garden. I love how my plants attract these beautiful creatures!

Concluding Thoughts

As you can see, there are many types of flowers that will attract hummingbirds to your garden. If you know how to attract hummingbirds to your garden in other ways, please do not hesitate to tell me below. Happy hummingbird hunting!

How to Attract Hummingbirds