Selecting your pot

When deciding what type of pot you want to utilize on your porch or around your garden, it’s important to invest in something that will be sturdy and withstand the outdoor environment. This is an investment, and with proper care a good pot should last you years. Make sure the color or pattern of your pot matches the aesthetic of your space and that the size fits well. If your pot is too shallow your plants will have less opportunity to root deeply and grow strong. A taller, deeper pot is better; allowing plenty of depth to root.

While looks are important, construction is the main factor you want to consider. Make sure there are no cracks and that the bottom of the pot sits evenly. Additionally, it is extremely important to have proper drainage in your porch pot. If there is a hole in the bottom then you should be set with drainage. If there’s no hole, consider adding a filler to provide that additional space for water to escape. Crushed water bottles are light and can add the additional space needed for proper drainage. You can also purchase an upsy-daisy that will cut your container size in half, meaning less soil is needed and there is empty space under the upsy-daisy for better drainage. Improper drainage can lead to problems such as root rot and harm your freshly planted flowers.

Are you notorious for forgetting to water your porch pots? We have the answer for you! Consider an aqua-pot. This brand of pots contains its own reservoir in the bottom. You fill this reservoir with water and it allows continuous watering of the plants on top. Make sure to keep an eye on how much water is in your reservoir and to continuously replenish it when low. 

Selecting your soil

Now that we have our pot picked, next you need to consider your soil. Your soil needs to accomplish 3 main things

  • Hold water for the plant to use when it needs it
  • Provide adequate nutrients
  • Provide a stable foundation for your roots to latch onto

Typically, the best selection for any porch pot or hanging basket is potting mix. This blend is specifically created to be light and fluffily so plants can easily root into the pot. This mix also holds moisture well while simultaneously providing good drainage. We recommend our Espoma brand potting mix for an organic solution packed with nutrients that plants need.

Many customers ask if they’re able to use the dirt from their garden beds. We recommend that you steer clear of this solution, as garden soil is quite heavy and can easily be packed down through watering. A tightly packed soil bed makes it harder for your plants to grow. Containments may also exist in your garden soil that could harm your new plants. Speaking of containments, this is also a large reason why you shouldn’t re-use old container garden soil. Any pests that infested old soil could easily be transferred to your new plants if you re-use. Furthermore, old soil has already been used by plants and thus ‘stripped’ of essential nutrients. Fresh, nutrient rich, light and fluffily potting mix gives the best foundation for your new porch pot.

Selecting your flowers

Now that we have our pot and soil selected, it’s time for the fun part! Selecting your flowers. First, consider how much sun your location receives daily. Most plants at Farmer John’s Greenhouse will provide a key indicating how much sun it requires.

As with your pot, the color story of your flowers is extremely important. We recommend sticking to 3-5 different colors as to not overwhelm your space. You can use warm tones, cool tones, or a mix of both using complimentary colors. Make sure the color of your flowers flows well with the color of your pot and surrounding areas.

When picking your flowers, the best recommendation is that you select a “thriller” (something exciting, usually provides the height in the planter) a “filler” (something to provide a nice background, typically the color aspect of the planter) and a “spiller” (something to trail over the side of the pot, may not be fully grown/trailing at garden center but should grow quickly). These helps provide layers visually and adds levels to your porch pot, creating more visual interest.

  • For sun loving areas, you could try using salvia (thriller, left), million bells (filler, center) and lantana (spiller, right)

  • For part sun part shade areas, try red spike plant (thriller, left), diamond frost (filler, center) and lobelia (spillers, right)

  • For shady areas, consider a caladium (thriller, left), inpatients (filler, center) and torenia (spiller, right)

Step-by-step planting guide

  • First, fill your planter approximately half way from the bottom. You may need to add more soil as we add smaller plants, in the end want all plants to be on same level. =

  • Then, set up your flowers inside to see if you have enough product and spacing. You want things to be close together but not too close as to deter any growth. You can trim your “thriller” if the stalks seem to be too long and cover your fillers and spillers.

  • Next, take your plant out of its plastic pot and try to open up the root system as to encourage growth out of the initial ball of roots.

  • Start in the middle and plant your way out. Typically go in order of thriller, filler, spiller.

  • Once all plants in, fill in gaps between plants with more soil. Water well then enjoy!

Of course, you can always select a pre-made porch pot from our greenhouse and enjoy all of the beauty with little to no work!