Container Gardening with a New Tilt

by Loretta Gillespie

Container gardening is fun and easy. Containers come in all shapes and sizes - some are rustic, others classical and many are very fancy. Whatever your style, there is surely a container out there that fits your needs and wants.

I use containers among my planting beds and landscaping areas. Sometimes I need height to best display plants, or to bring together the look I am trying to convey. One of the best ways I've found to do this is by stacking pots. There are several ways to do this. The main thing to remember is to be consistent with your choice of pots. They don't have to be identical, but they do need to match.

You can use clay, glazed pottery or concrete. Whichever you choose, make sure they decrease in size as you place one atop the other, leaving enough room to place your plants around the edges.

Start with your largest pot and fill with broken pottery or packing peanuts to cover the drainage hole. Fill to the rim of the pot with potting soil to which you have added moisture crystals. Place your next smaller sized pot right in the middle of the bottom pot. Fill with packing peanuts and potting soil, and repeat, gradually using smaller and smaller pots. Snug each pot down into the soil about 4 inches, or enough so that they are stable.

Now, go around the edges of each pot with plants. Get creative, using bright flowers with different textures. Some should be upright plants; some should be trailing over the edges, some spilling over into the pot below. Suggested plants include pansies, petunias, creeping Jenny, small grasses or spikes for the top, sweet potato vine, asparagus fern, begonias and geraniums. Water well, making sure that each pot gets a thorough soaking.

A variation of this idea is to make a metal stake using a flat piece of metal about the size of your largest pot. Then weld a piece of rebar about 4 1/2 feet long to the metal plate. Put your largest pot over the rebar, using the hole in the bottom of the pot to thread it onto the rebar. Fill with potting soil as above. Now, the fun starts. Instead of placing the next pot in the center of the first one, thread it over the rebar and when it reaches the soil level, tilt it to one side. Fill with soil. Using the photo as a guide, tilt each progressive pot to opposite sides. This method is sure to have people scratching their heads, wondering how in the world those pots are balanced atop each other. This method allows for much more planting room. Plant each pot with colorful summer annuals and perennials, trailing and creeping greenery and feathery grasses.

Don't forget the moisture crystals. I also recommend using a good time-release fertilizer in each pot.

Have fun with these stackable containers. They are handy where space is at a minimum, like on a balcony or on a patio. One caution, be sure to build this where you intend to keep the stackable containers, they are very heavy and difficult to move after they are established.


(Click on any photo to enlarge)

Loretta Gillespie lives and writes in Moulton. A garden consultant, she and husband Danny own Gillespie Gardens, a private garden retreat available for weddings and other family functions.


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