How to Pot a Plant

Potted plants can bring some new life to any porch, deck or patio, literally! Display a beautiful array of lush green plants or colorful flowers anywhere you desire with one or more stylish west elm planters. Not only can planters enhance the look of the space, but they are also easy to pick up and move around if you want to create a new layout or a new design.

Using pots and planters can really help in creating a great outdoor space. We've put together a handy guide to potting plants and to taking care of your potted plants below.

Supplies That You Need

First, you'll need a planter that suits the style of the space, such as a clean-lined and contemporary geometric planter or a more traditional round planter. Think about how the planter will look next to your other pieces of outdoor decor. Neutral colors will emphasize the plant while darker and bolder colors will draw attention to the planter as well.

Once you have a planter, fill it with a store-bought potting mix rather than with soil from your garden. Pour the soil until it is within an inch or two of the top of the planter. It's a good idea to set your planter down in the desired location before filling it so that you don't have to carry it with the added weight later on. Consider placing it by your outdoor chairs to create a welcoming seating area.

Now it's time to don a pair of gardening gloves, pick up a trowel, or to simply get a little bit of dirt under your nails. Create a small hole in the potting soil that will be large enough to accommodate your new plant. Remove the plant from its nursery container by supporting the top and slowly tipping the container. You may need to tap on the sides and give the container a gentle shake.

Place the plant into the hole you created and fill in the sides with soil, taking care not to cover the plant itself. Water the plant to help the roots settle into their new, more spacious home.

Care and Maintenance

Be generous when watering your potted plants and pour until water comes out of the holes at the bottom of the planter. This ensures that the moisture isn't lingering near the top of the soil, where it can easily evaporate. Every plant needs different amounts of water. You'll know that it's time to water again when the top of the soil is no longer moist, which will be roughly once a day for large planters. If your plants dry out too quickly because of harsh and direct sun, consider using a patio umbrella to block some light during the hottest parts of the day.

Potted plants need to be fertilized because some of the nutrients in the soil flush away with every watering. A water-soluble or liquid fertilizer will keep your plants healthy and strong. You can also help your potted flowers grow and flourish by cutting away faded blooms. This will allow the plant to direct its energy towards producing new blooms.

It can be easier to care for a smaller planter by setting it on top of a side or coffee table. Not only will it be more visible, but you won't have to bend down as much!

Best Plants for Each Climate

Sun, temperature and precipitation can affect how successful your efforts at creating a planter garden will be. Here are some suggestions for the best plants to grow depending on the climate you live in.

Northern climate: Carolina lupine, garden flox, merry bells, maidenhair fern and yarrow.

Southern climate: hardy hibiscus, crested iris, Stoke's aster, woodland phlox and rain lily.

Midwest climate: mophead hydrangeas, black-eyed Susans, evening primrose, bluestar and butterfly milkweed.

Desert climate: red yucca, golden barrel cactus, fishhook barrel cactus, artichoke agave and Chihuahuan sage.

Mountain climate: sage, beardtongue, hyssop, Veronica and ice plant.

Play around with different types of plants to find those that grow best in your specific location. To help you coordinate your planters with the rest of your furniture and accessories, check out our inspiration for outdoor living.

Using pots and planters allows you to garden just about anywhere, even on a small balcony. Get ready to flex your green thumbs a little and don't forget to have fun along the way.

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