Planting has evolved from using the garden directly to planting in pots and containers. This method has become common due to the increase in indoor plants. Annuals are the best plants for pots.
When planting in a pot, you don’t have to worry about moving the plant from one location to the next except when the weather changes. And still, this depends on the type of annuals you plant in containers.
Before you plant annual flowers in containers, you must consider the steps for a healthy plant. Without these steps, even if you know how to plant annual flowers in containers, the knowledge might not help.
Factors to consider when planting annual flowers in containers
Like other gardening methods, planting a flower in a container requires good timing when the weather is favorable to the plant. The planting period usually depends on the plant; however, in most cases, it is better to plant at the end of spring, at the beginning of summer, Or when the frost period has passed.
Choosing flowers to plant in a pot varies depending on the season, the location, and soil quality. You can use the analogy of the right flower at the right place. If you do this right, then you’ll be successful.
It is possible to plant more than one flower in the same pot for annuals. But, to do this, you have to make sure they have similar cultural requirements; that way, you can feed them the same throughout the season.
Ensure you choose annual flowers with the requirements of where you place your pot. For instance, If you have a large pot, and it is outdoors in direct exposure to the sun, pick a flower that can adapt to direct sunlight. Here are the environmental conditions you should consider:
- The number of hours of exposure to sunshine
- The intensity of direct sunlight
- Windy conditions
- Heavy rainfall
- Shady grounds.
If you are placing your plant on a balcony exposed to direct sunlight, wind, or strong rains, ensure you pick high resistant plants such as petunias and geraniums. For plants in the shade, pick those that can adapt to humidity and shade, such as impatiens, begonias, and fuchsias.
Picking the correct plant for your pot ensures that you avoid any problems such as attacks by pests and diseases. The wrong plant can grow, but it will be subjected to stress by external conditions, which makes it weak and susceptible to insects and diseases.
The container market is big, and you can choose any containers that suit your needs. Some containers include:
- Balcony containers
- Garden urns
- Hanging baskets.
Also, they come in different materials like plastic, terracotta, cement, stone, etc. The container you choose is also important in the life of a flower. Here are a few things to know when choosing a container.
- Plants require a certain amount of sunlight to make food, but if they get more, they will use water faster, dry easily, or get scorched by the sun. Pick a colored container that can reflect away heat to avoid overheating. Avoid dark containers except in an area with little to no sun. Dark containers tend to absorb heat and retain it in the container.
- A container should be large and deep enough to accommodate the roots and the plant. It ensures that the plant is not stressed when growing, the roots can grow deeper, the soil will have cooler temperatures, and the soil can dry slowly, thus retaining water. The disadvantage of these large pots is that they are heavy and will have to remain in one position the whole season.
- Choose a container with drainage holes to ensure water does not remain in the pot for longer hours. Proper drainage ensures the roots have enough water.
- Pick a container depending on the location you are placing it. If you are placing it outside, ensure the material is resistant to frost.
The best soil can retain water and nutrients and has good drainage. The soil should be fresh from the garden, or you can purchase potting soil. Avoid using soil that has been used before in a container.
Some people make their soil from peat moss, compost, perlite, etc. But this is important to ensure the soil is rich in nutrients, good quality, and well aerated.
Step By Step: How to plant annual flowers in a container.
Crock Your flower container
Crocking is placing bricks or clay at the bottom of the container. It is not necessary to place them, but it is recommended to ensure the drain hole is not clogged with soil. If soil clogs the drainage hole, water will be stuck, leading to poor drainage, which can cause stress to the roots.
Prepare the soil
Preparing soil means adding the requirement before putting it in the container. You can choose to use potting or fresh soil from your garden. Using potting soil for your container ensures you get the correct soil requirements. Once purchased, fill the pot with soil.
However, for any other fresh soil, ensure you add the required quantities depending on the container size. Mix the soil in a wheelbarrow. Then humidify without drenching.
Add fertilizer to the soil. You can use natural origins such as seaweed meal or feather meal, or slow-release fertilizer in a 4-8-4 formation. You can use the formation recommended by the manufacturer.
Fill the Containers
Avoid packing compact soil in the soil. When the soil is ready to use, add it to the container, up to two-thirds of the container. Gently knock the container on the soil to make sure the soil doesn’t leave any gaps. It should be loose for the roots to move smoothly through it.
When planting more than one plant in a single pot, start planting from the center of the container to the borders.
- Make a hole, then place the plant to the collar (the meeting point between the stem and roots) or at the same level as the original container.
- Cover the plant with soil lightly, without compacting.
- To the next plant, you can space it at a distance of 10 to 20 cm. Use the distance indicated on the label.
- Add beneficial fungi such as mycorrhizas at the bottom of each plant hole. These fungi help the plant absorb nutrients and water and become resistant to drought.
Once you are done planting, water the plant with a sprinkler to ensure the water spreads evenly throughout the soil and doesn’t soak one area. In other successive times when you need to water your plant, first check by putting a finger in the soil to check for soil moisture. If the soil is moist, don’t water it. Also, it is better to water the plants at a specific time, especially in the morning or evening when there is no sun.