Growing plants in containers is a lot of fun. It is not complicated at all, and by following a few common sense rules, satisfaction is absolutely guaranteed. For a small starter plant, be it a shrub or any ornamental plant, a small container of 3 or 4 inches wide is sufficient, at first. Of course, until these little babies grow bigger, then you will need to step them up in a larger container, like 1 gallon size for example.
First you need the little plants, but how to get them? Now that's a real kicker, isn't it! Well, you can start some of them from seeds, or rooted cuttings. Or you can purchase the little plants, called liners or plugs, from your local Garden Center, or you can root them yourself.
It is not really that complicated, and it is not hard at all. In fact it is amazing how easy it can be, buy taking it step by step.
Let's assume that you need some shrubs for a foundation planting in front and on the sides of your house, something that does not grow too tall, and you will be able to control by pruning. Let's start with a Compacta Holly, a nice evergreen that is easy to grow, and as they grow you can shape them any way you like. They are used also for topiary, and hedges, borders, etc.
Now you are going to need a mature shrub as a source to make your cuttings. If you don't have any already on your property, see if your neighbour or a friend might have some, and ask for permission to take a few cuttings. Another solution would be to buy just one Compacta Holly (or it could be any shrub for that matter), that is bushy enough, and that has some semi-tender new growth on it. The cuttings from these woody shrubs, should not be too mature nor too tender. Just cut bellow the portion that is brown turning to green upward. Cut them about 4 to 6 inches long.
Get some good quality peat-moss blend potting soil with micro-nutrients blended in it, and some cell packs. The 6 cell jumbo packs works good. Fill up the cells with the potting soil and wet it with a fine sprinkle of water. With a sharp knife (do not use scissors) cut the lower end of the cutting in a slanted cut, and trim the tips with a scissors, this time, to encourage growth. Now stick the cuttings in the soil, one in each cell, and press the soil around it.
Once you put them all in, set the cells in a shady place, and with a hand held bottle spray mist the cuttings every now and then, to keep the leaves wet. Remember, these plants do not have roots yet, so they feed through the leaves. Make sure that the soil itself stays wet, to encourage the cutting to reach down for water, thus growing the roots.
Once you see some roots sticking out the holes on the bottom of the cell pack, it is a good sign that they are growing roots. Just wait a little while longer, until you get a root ball, before you transplant them in a 4 inch container. This should take about 6 to 8 weeks, if all goes well.
These Compacta Hollies on the left, are planted in 4 inch containers, and they had their first "haircut" already. These shrubs are pretty fast growing, and soon they'll need to be stepped up in 1 or even 2 gallon size pots.
This rooting procedures from cuttings can be applied to almost any woody shrubs like Boxwood, Youpon, Helleri, Soft Touch, Azaleas, Ligustrum, Loropetalum, Pittosporum, and many others.
The Compacta Hollies can be planted in a straight line, staggered, as accent planting, group planting, hedges, etc. You just use your imagination, or get inspired from a specialty landscaping magazine. Just figure out how many you need for your own project, and root as many as you need.
If you don't want to root your own cuttings, or you don't have the time and the means to do it, you can purchase some starter plants for any of your landscape or gardening projects, from my eBay store, there is a great variety and there are a lot available: http://stores.shop.ebay.com/Borlovans-Nursery
Helping the gardening enthusiasts with practical ideas and information, periodically with new and fresh articles related to the gardening field. These articles are written in simple down to earth wording, easy to understand, and with the clear intention to help and benefit the novice or even the more experienced who might want to venture in something they never tried before. Gardening and Landscaping is a wonderful way to blend in with the nature, and enjoy to the fullest extent possible all the good things it can offer.
If you do not have a garden yet, you can start any time. Get involved by taking small steps to implement your desired plans, try and experiment, make it your hobby and sooner or later you will become passionate about it, and you will be glad you did. Nature has unlimited resources to offer, why not take advantage of it?
Come on, let's get our hands dirty, will you?
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Until next time, happy Gardening! And get your hands dirty, it's good for you!