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Potted Plants 101

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Long time no talk everyone! After taking some time off last week to reflect + a super hectic week prior to that, I’m so happy to be back on the blog. As you may know from my Instagram stories, I’ve been spending a ton of time outside in our garden & putting together our pots. I’ve already learned a decent amount about flowers & plants but, there’s still SO much more I need to learn. For those of you who also may be new to gardening, I wanted to share a few of the things I’ve come to realize that I thought might be helpful for someone who is just starting out with gardening.

The tips I’m sharing today are the things you should think about before heading to the store. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that it’s really important to have a plan! I tend to be a little bit of an impulse shopper which doesn’t always work out well when it comes to gardening. Since gardening is so seasonal, the nurseries and garden centers are SO crowded (especially this year) so you really want to have a clear idea of what you’re looking before heading out. In order to do that these are the things to know before you go.


This may seem obvious if you’re already privy to the fact that some plants do best in the sun and others need shade. However, I’ve learned that it’s not so black and white for most plants and flowers. To make sure your plants and flowers REALLY thrive, you’ll want to pay much closer attention to the hours of sun vs shade each area will get. Start to think of a few different places you want to put your pots and spend a day tracking how many hours those areas are in the sun vs shade and at what time of day. A lot of plants will have a specific number of hours of sun they need and even at what time of day they need it. You may be surprised to find that some areas of your porch or patio get more or less sun than you thought.


That leads me to my next point which is that shade can be pretty limiting and detrimental to many types of flowers. One of my biggest disappointments so far was learning that there aren’t a lot of flowers that do well in full shade. I had dreams of big huge hydrangeas and gorgeous roses for our front porch but, unfortunately, our porch is completely in the shade and all those flowers need sun! There are a lot of plant options though!

Of course, I didn’t do much research ahead of shopping, so I had a really hard time finding flowers that would survive in my front porch planters. I actually even killed a few rounds of smaller filler flowers trying to figure out what would work. Even stuff that needs part sun will not survive if it’s in full shade – I thought I could swing it. My best advice if you have planters that are in full shade, do research ahead of time and know exactly what kind of plants and flowers you want. I would also recommend going to a large garden center that will have a lot more options and better quality flowers than somewhere like Home Depot. They will look a lot healthier and you’ll have more choices as far as varietal and color.


This year I started buying flowers way too early! I got really excited the first warm week of the season and bought a bunch of flowers. I went back a few weeks later and realized that not only were there way more options, everything looked SO much healthier! If there’s a specific type of flower you like, be sure to look into when they are in bloom so you know when it’s a good time to start shopping for them. You’ll be starting with much healthier and happier plants. On the flip side, don’t wait too long though because stuff gets picked over pretty quickly. I went the weekend after Mother’s Day and felt like everything was looking super healthy and fresh and there were still a lot of options.


As I mentioned above, I didn’t really do any research before heading to the garden center which was a big mistake. I definitely suggest putting time into doing research on the things I mentioned above. Not only will it make shopping easier it will also make caring for your plants much easier. Flowers can start dying in a matter of hours if they aren’t getting the right sunlight & water. And trust me when I say it get’s pretty expensive to keep replacing dead flowers all season!


Once you’ve assessed the lighting, figured out where you’re going to put your planters/pots, and done some research sit down and make a list. I got super overwhelmed the first time I went to a  garden center and left with nothing. If you can, try to list out the names of the flowers/plants you want and quantities of each. I think it’s helpful to break it down by each individual pot first and then make a master list of flower/plant types and quantities. This will make shopping a lot easier and ensure you don’t have to make several trips to the store.


Speaking of making several trips, another thing I learned was that it’s always better to buy a little extra than you think you need. That goes for flowers, plants and soil. Once we started planting, we realized we needed a lot more of everything to fill the pots – especially soil! If you end up with leftover plants or flowers there’s always room in a flower bed to plant them. I like to pick up a few terra cotta pots (they’re less than $5)  for extra flowers. They’re great for a side table or next to a larger pot.

I hope these tips help you’re looking to add some greenery and flowers, patio, porch or city balcony!



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