Build a Container Garden in 4 Easy Steps

Thank you to all the SAMLARC members who attended the Spring Gardening Workshop on Saturday, March 25, at the Lago Santa Margarita Beach Club Fiesta Room and Patio, it was a great turn out and lots of fun!

For this Spring season's class, led by SAMLARC homeowner, Floral Designer and California Certified Nursery Professional Kathie Wickham, students were instructed on how to plant annuals and perennials into containers to add curb appeal to their homes.

You can read up on Kathie's gardening advice below, given to students on how to plant flowers in containers.

PLANTING IN CONTAINERS 1. Choosing a Container Almost any container that has drainage holes can be planted with seasonal color.

There are a few differences to be aware of:

  • Clay is porous and the soil will dry out quickly in hot weather. The upside is less rot problems. The downside is more attention and watering. Glazed ceramic or clay is a good choice.

  • Plastic pottery holds water well, resulting in watering less. In full sun season after season, plastic will crack and break down from exposure to UV light.

2. Environment and Exposure

  • The great thing about a planted container – you can move it! Even though you may use plants that call for full sun, half day sun may be sufficient.

  • If you notice your plants wilting daily, try moving them where they will get morning shade.

  • If a container is placed in front of a wall that reflects sun, the heat factor multiplies.

  • Conversely, if you notice your plant seems to be stretching toward the light as it grows (and is not flowering), it needs more sun.

3. Soil

  • Use a commercial Potting Soil – not Planters Mix, which is used to amend ground soil.

  • If soil seems too heavy and dense, and holds moisture too long, Perlite can be added. It aids drainage and encourages root growth. It is available at any garden center in small bags.

4. Water and Fertilizer

  • Water containers well (until water runs out of the drainage holes) to make sure all the

  • roots are wet. To avoid rot, let the soil dry out between watering. Wilting plants will signal more water is needed.

  • Adding a slow-release pelleted fertilizer in the soil when planting will give your plants a continuous feeding. Depending on whether your plants are green and leafy, or if they are flowering and you want more flowers, check the analysis on the fertilizer container.

  • The first number is the percentage of nitrogen. A 24-8-4 mix has 24 percent total nitrogen. Nitrogen provides plants with the ability to produce more chlorophyll, which in turn allows plants to grow quickly. With each additional nitrogen application, plants will grow taller and develop a darker green color.

  • Want more flowers? The second number in the analysis is the percentage of phosphorus in the mix. For example, a mix of 4-12-6 would contain 12 percent phosphorus. Phosphorous aids in root development and increases flowering ability and bloom size. The fertilizer industry smartly markets high phosphorus fertilizer as “Bloom Booster or High Bloom” products.

  • The third number represents the percentage of potassium found in the product. A mix of 10-6-8 has 8 percent potassium. It helps fight plant diseases and aids in drought protection and cold tolerance. It also serves a role in improving root development.

Join us for the next Gardening Workshop on Saturday, September 9, 2017, at the Lago Santa Margarita Beach Club Fiesta Room and Patio. To find out more please visit or contact Community Lifestyle Manager, Marley Sansom at or call 949.709-.0013.

22342A Avenida Empresa, Suite 102A, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

(949) 709-0010

© 2018 Santa Margarita Landscape and Recreation Corporation