A few days ago, you may remember my post about my uncontrolled container plants.

Well, I pulled out some of my excess Trailing Lantana, which can be used in other areas of my garden.
Then I cut back the remaining Lantana and my Sweet Potato vine.
At this point, things were looking much neater, if a little bare.
I only bought a few new plants since I decided to keep much of my existing perennials.
I purchased Alyssum because I love their sweet fragrance.
I also bought Johnny-Jump-Ups, which are little Violas that are native to Spain.
I remember growing them in my little garden as a child and I loved how easily they grew for me.
Lastly, I purchased two Lavender.  They make great container plants and I love their flowers.
And so I began….
First, I dug a hole for my Lavender and then as I was removing the container, I discovered that they were extremely root bound.
Root-bound plants aren’t uncommon and are a result of being in the container too long.  The roots start growing round and round since they can’t grow outward.
If you find yourself with a root-bound plant, it is easy to fix.
Here’s how…
You simply make cuts to the roots.  This forces the roots to stop growing around and around and makes them grow outward into the surrounding soil.
I used my hand pruners to make the cuts, but you can use strong scissors or even a box cutter.
After you make the cuts, you need to ‘work’ the root ball.  What I mean by this is give it a ‘massage’.  This helps to further loosen the root ball and will help your plant to transplant much more easily….
Now my Lavender is ready to plant.
So, you may be wondering what happens if you don’t cut and loosen the roots of a root-bound plant?  Well, the roots will tend not to grow out into the soil, where there is moisture and nutrients and you plant will not do all that well.
After I was finished planting, my containers looked nice a neat – but a bit bare.  It will take a couple of weeks for my plants to grow and cover the bare spots.
In my purple container, I planted a mixture of Johnny-Jump-Ups and Alyssum.
In my yellow container.  I planted one of my Lavender and pruned back my Sweet Potato Vine, which will grow back quickly.
My blue container has a Lavender and White Trailing Lantana growing.  I pruned the Lantana back but like the vine, it will grow fast.
**Although both the Sweet Potato Vine and my Trailing Lantana are susceptible to frost damage – they are protected because my containers are located underneath the overhang of my house.
 
You may be wondering why I don’t fill my pots with colorful cool-season annuals such as Petunias, Pansies, Snapdragons and Stock?
I was thinking about this the other day and I think it is because when I managed landscapes, I was responsible for thousands of colorful annuals being planted twice a year, keeping them alive, fertilizing them often and trying to keep them from being eaten by Javelina and rabbits.
I also know a designer who creates beautiful containers filled with both annuals and perennials every year…
Her name is Maggie and someday, I may even try to recreate one of her beautiful container designs in my own containers.
But for now, I am happy with my humble containers.
I will show you some good ideas for cool-season container plantings with lots of color in the next week.  (Just because I didn’t plant that many in my own garden doesn’t mean I don’t know how 😉
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Baby watch update:
Two days overdue.
I have a feeling it might come today, but then, I have been known to be wrong 😉
I’ll let you know!
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

3 replies
  1. NellJean
    NellJean says:

    Usually I have single plants to a container. However as I'm bringing pots inside for the winter and running out of room, I'm starting to tuck a few cuttings into the edges of things. I backed into a big pot of wax begonias — the broken pieces became cuttings in pots of others. Foxtail Ferns looked leggy so they got a sprinkling of alyssum seeds, already growing.

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