When grown in garden pots, depending on the size of the pot, your plant will probably be smaller.
With their growing popularity, Meyer lemon trees are pretty easy to find in local nurseries or online.
Growing Meyer lemon trees in garden pots is hugely rewarding. Not only are they prolific fruit producers, the blossoms of Meyer lemon trees are incredibly fragrant and beautiful. The Meyer lemon fruit is also sweeter than the fruit of other lemons and even their thin skin is tasty and great for cooking.
Though Meyer lemon trees are naturally shrub-like, they can also be pruned into tree form. When planted in the ground, they can grow up to 8-10 feet tall and up to 12 feet wide.
When grown in garden pots, depending on the size of the pot, your plant will probably be smaller.
With their growing popularity, Meyer lemon trees are pretty easy to find in local nurseries or online.
What Meyer lemon trees like:
All citrus trees love sun – the more the better. They are happiest in temperatures between 50-80 °F. That means, unless you live in USDA zones 9-11, you’ll want to bring your Meyer lemon tree inside when temperatures start regularly dipping below 50°F. In spring, if you live in a cold climate bring your tree outside when nighttime temperatures are consistently above 50. It’s a good idea to slowly acclimate any plant to outdoor conditions by hardening it off.
Once it is used to being outdoors, place it in a sunny area, protected from the wind.
Feeding: During the growing season, spring to fall, feed your citrus plant regularly with either a high nitrogen fertilizer or a slow release all-purpose fertilizer. Citrus trees also respond well to additional foliar feeding with a liquid fertilizer like compost tea or liquid kelp of fish emulsion.
Watering: Proper watering is one of the keys to growing any citrus plant, but particularly those grown in pots. The aim is to keep the soil moist but not wet. Stick your finger into the soil, at least up to the second knuckle. If you feel dampness at your fingertip, wait to water. If it feels dry, water your plant until you see it run out of the bottom of the pot. If your plant is indoors, particularly in winter when the heat is on, misting the leaves with water can help keep your lemon tree happy. It’s also a good idea to use pot feet , so your citrus tree doesn’t sit in water.
Harvesting: If you keep your lemon tree indoors for the winter, your fruit can take up to a year to ripen.
Because citrus fruit will only continue to ripen while it is still on the tree, make sure to wait until it’s ripe before picking. Meyer lemons, when ripe will be an egg yolk-y yellow and will be slightly soft to the touch. Use a knife or scissor to cut off the fruit so you don’t risk damaging the plant by pulling off a larger piece than intended.
First let’s agree that not all shade is the same. You can have no direct sun at all (think a closet), or you can have mixed sun and shade, dappled shade (think sun streaming through leaves, or you can have bright shade, which has light but no direct sun. Whatever your situation, you can grow beautiful container gardens. Here are some tips to help you get started.
One of the most important parts of successful shade container gardening is to accurately figure out how much sun your pot will get. While you may think a certain spot in your yard, or on your deck or patio is in shade, it pays to take a close look at what kind of shade or sun an area gets. There are several different kinds of shade and determining the exposure of an area can make the difference in whether your containers thrive.
To determine the light levels in a certain area, you can use a sunlight meter or calculatoror you can keep track, throughout the day, of how much light is hitting your spot. As the seasons change and even in the course of a growing season, as the sun moves across the sky, those light levels can change so keep an eye on sun exposure, over time.
This is perhaps the most important step in determining if your plants will thrive in your shady spot. You will want to choose plants that love shade and there are lots to choose from. There are great foliage plants as well as many flowering plants to choose. If you don’t know what you want when you go to buy plants, either ask a knowledgeable salesperson for suggestions, or make sure to read the plant tags.
Some nurseries will even have whole sections devoted to plants that thrive in shade. Also make sure your plants have the same water requirements if you are planning to combine them in a pot. That said, don’t be afraid of just using one type of plant in a container–some of the most beautiful pots have one plant.
While you really don’t need many tools for container gardening, there are some things that come in really handy. They range from free (I use a lot of large yogurt containers to scoop soil) to pretty pricey, but I put together this list from things I’ve discovered that are worth the money.
There are tons of tools out there that are frankly ridiculous, unnecessary and even environmentally irresponsible.
There are also tools that though not essential, are a huge luxury and, if you have the cash are worth the investment.
Remember, you really don’t need much, but depending on how ambitious you are in your container gardening efforts these could prove useful.
The following are in no particular order.
For many people, hardscaped areas might be the only outdoor places available to create a garden. Rather than limiting, this lack of earth can open up a world of possibilities. Whether your area is a small terrace off the back kitchen, or a rooftop or balcony, there are a number of practical and design considerations to bear in mind when taking a barren hardscape from boring to beautiful.
One of the primary design considerations for any garden – especially a garden carved out of a barren, hardscaped area – is how you plan to use the space. Defining the purpose for the garden will drive design and plant choices.
You can delineate garden rooms in even the smallest of terraces or balconies. For example,
Your responses to these questions will drive your design decisions. If you want the area to simply be a place to sit with coffee before work, you’ll want to focus on necessities – a chair, a table, and a few plants in containers to soften the hardscape. On the other hand, if your intention is to mimic a larger, on-the-ground ground garden, you’ll want to create different rooms, delineate movement
Once you have decided the purpose for the space, determine how you will get containers, plants, furniture, and ornaments to the area and the impact of weight, climate, and weather in the space. Ask yourself:
The importance of understanding weight, weather, and climate conditions before designing a terrace, balcony, or rooftop garden cannot be overstated.
I think everyone should grow a pot of herbs. Even if you only have a tiny spec of outdoor space, if you have some sun, you can grow herbs. Most herbs grow well in containers and some (like mint and lemon balm) should be grown in pots because if you grow them in your garden they will try to take over the world. Also, many are pretty forgiving and even beginners can grow them with success. I grow herbs for cooking and decoration as well.
I will often put herbs in mixed garden pots because they can add great fragrance and texture.
The follow list contains some of my favorite herbs Almost any recipe is better if you put parsley in or on it (ok, perhaps not chocolate mousse, but you get my point). Parsley is exceedingly easy to grow. You can either buy seedlings, almost anywhere that sells plants or grow it from seed. I usually buy seedlings because the seeds can take weeks to germinate and are fussy about transplanting. If you do start parsley seeds, soak them overnight before planting.
Parsley comes in two types, Italian, also called flat parsley and curly parsley, which is the more common variety. Many people prefer flat parsley for cooking and curly parsley for garnishes. I’ve never been able to tell the difference in taste. Parsley prefers full sun, but can grow in partial shade. It’s very hardy and will make it through a frost. I’ve even found perfectly usable parsley under a a few inches of snow of snow. To harvest, just snip off at the base of a stem. As with most herbs, the more you harvest, the more you’ll get.
Parsley is biennial, which means that it can come back for two years, though some think the leaves are more bitter the second year.
Parsley is an herb that will thrive if you keep using it. To harvest, cut stalks on the outside of the plant, down near the soil.
Mint makes a perfect container herb. Some mints spread so fast and aggressively, that keeping them in a container is the only way to prevent them from taking over your garden. Also, many varieties of mint are beautiful and make a great addition to a decorative planter. Mint is an incredibly easy plant to grow – hence its ability to take over the world.
Mint likes full sun, but most will tolerate some shade.
There are many herbs that are as beautiful as they are tasty, which makes them perfect for growing containers, either on their own or in a mixed pot. Herbs are generally easy to grow and many are drought resistant and thrive on neglect, which are also good characteristics for container plants. You can use herbs in hanging baskets as well as traditional containers and don’t hesitate to experiment growing them with other plants.
Another great thing about herbs is that generally, the more you pick, the fuller and better the plant will look. That said, you want to be careful not to pick so much that you leave a giant hole in your container.
Many herbs also have beautiful flowers and some are edible and delicious. However, some herbs, like basil, once they flower become bitter.
Oregano is one of my favorite herbs for containers. It is incredibly forgiving, scoffs at drought and likes poor soil so doesn’t need much fertilizer. It is a low growing plant with small leaves and will drape over the sides of containers, so can be used as a “spiller,”though it won’t spread too much.
Of all the oregano varieties, golden oregano (Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’) is my favorite because it can add a bright spot to any container.
Oregano loves lots of sun and is a perennial in zones 5-8. To keep plant thriving, don’t over water and keep pruning back. Oregano needs good drainage.
If plant starts getting leggy, cut back and wait a few weeks for recovery. You can propagate oregano by rooting it in water.
Herb container gardens are the best. I love growing herbs in containers because they’re beautiful, they give you great bang for your buck and many are easy to grow. It is also convenient. Even if you have miles of property and gardens galore, it is really great to be able to step out your door and pick a handful of fresh herbs from a beautiful container garden. Besides, when I’m cooking dinner it’s often dark, and rather than rooting around my garden wearing a headlamp, it is much easier to turn on my porch light and go out to my pots and snip some fresh herbs.
You can grow almost any herb in a container and most are very easy. However, herbs can have different water requirements, and some are more finicky than others, so be sure to put herbs that require similar care in the same pot.
You can grow as many types of herbs in one container as you want, as long as you make sure that all the herbs in a single pot share the same sun, water and soil preferences. For example, rosemary likes it hot and dry while parsley needs steady moisture. They wouldn’t be perfect in the same pot (though to be honest, I have pushed this envelope and put unmatched bedfellows together, fairly successfully).
I also like to grow pots with one type of herb per pot and then group the pots.
Plants Per Container
I’m a big fan of crowded, bountiful container gardens. I pack in plants and most do fine. Particularly since herbs thrive if you keep pinching them back and harvesting them, you can usually keep them from strangling each other. One caveat to this is basil, which needs good air circulation so really doesn’t like crowding. Also, if you’re trying to save money, and are patient, buy small plants and let them grow to fill your container.
Herbs in Container Garden Design
Don’t be shy about using herbs as decorative elements in any container garden. They can look fantastic and provide a great texture and scent mixed with annuals or perennials. Again, just be sure to pair them with plants that have the same requirements for light and water.
Whether you are limited on space, growing plants that don’t usually survive your local weather or just looking to create focal points, container trees and shrubs can be a lovely addition to your landscape. However, there are some considerations that you will need to remember in order to help them stay happy and healthy.
One big mistake that some gardeners make is falling in love with a plant online or at a nursery and whisking it home with nary a thought as to whether it will actually work in your garden. This is especially true when you are trying to place a tree or shrub in a container. The cute little sapling that you spied at the garden center can turn into a tree that is over 100 feet tall.
The basics that you should check out for potential candidates include:
You are asking a lot of a tree or shrub when you place it into a container.
The roots have far less space to work with and can naturally become crowded. When you choose dwarf cultivars and species that are naturally on the smaller size, it is easier for them to adapt to the limited area presented. This is especially important when you are working with fruit trees since they will need extra energy to produce fruit and you want a good root base.
Picking the right size of container for your tree or shrub can be a bit tricky at first. You do not want one that is too small, of course, as this will leave little room for root growth and it is likely to become rootbound and struggle or die. Since it is a large plant, you might naturally think to place it in a very large container so it will have room even when it is fully grown.
However, you can definitely run into problems if the pot is too large for the plant’s current size. When there is an abundance of soil present and not enough roots to take up the water, it can retain moisture for too long and cause root rots that can ultimately kill the plant.
For best results, plan on moving up in 2” increments every couple of years until it reaches maturity. Repot sooner if you notice roots escaping from the drainage holes. If it is rootbound when you change containers, perform root pruning by use a box cutter or other sharp instrument to score along the sides of the root ball and remove the mass of roots. This will stimulate new root growth and keep the plant healthier.
Even if you have the correct size of container, you can run into root rot and other problems if there are not enough drainage openings present. Check your pot (especially if you are using an alternative form of planter like a barrel or bucket that is not necessarily sold with drainage holes) and use a drill to create more as needed.
Many trees and shrubs have adapted for survival through the harsh conditions present during winter. Growth slows and the plant goes into dormancy. The roots are protected by the ground surrounding them and the temperatures are at least a little higher than in the air above.
In a container, there is a lot less buffer present for the roots. It is much easier for the soil to freeze completely and cause damage. Options are to bring the plant inside, bury it in the ground or place it somewhere like a garage or basement. If you choose to bury them, add mulch on top for extra protection and leave a space around the trunk to prevent insect and disease damage.
Think of raised beds as super large container gardens. Raised beds are often used by gardeners when their soil is less than perfect–and let’s face it, most soil is far from perfect. If there is too much sand, for example, water will go through too fast and leave the plants thirsty. Many soils are rocky, making it difficult for plants to send down roots. Building your own garden box on top of the ground allows you to get better results than you would otherwise. You can have the soil you want, not the soil you are stuck with.
Because they lift plants up, raised beds also help people access the plants more easily for weeding, watering and harvest and put less stress on joints and are kinder to backs.
What Can Be Grown in a Raised Bed?
The good news is that there are many plants–and almost all vegetables– will work well in a raised bed. They are commonly used for growing fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. If you are growing root vegetables, you may want to dig down deeper to make sure there is enough loose soil for roots to properly form.
Efficient methods like square foot gardening can be used to maximize production and are easy to lay out in a grid system within the box.
Types of Construction Materials
There are a variety of options available if you want to create a raised bed. Wood planks are a common choice. Make sure that chemicals have not been used to treat them, as these can leach into the soil and into your vegetables, fruits and herbs. For this reason, if you are going to re-use found wood or pallets, source them carefully as in many cases, they have toxins and/or pesticides present in the wood. Choose fastening materials like bolts or screws that are made of a substance that will not rust, like stainless steel.
Cinder blocks are another possible option for your raised bed. They will last almost indefinitely and weather better than wood. If you lay the concrete blocks so that the holes are facing up, the sides will create a solid wall. Use rebar inside each opening to keep the blocks from shifting. Plants that stay on the smaller side (some herbs, onions, radishes, etc.) can even be grown in the holes. Watch on your local classifieds, Freecycle and Facebook yard sale groups as they are sometimes offered for free if you haul them away.
If your garden is naturally rocky, use that to your advantage by building your raised bed for free with those stones. These are also a common item given away on classified groups if you are willing to pick them up.
Another great option is to buy a raised bed made of fabric. One of the advantages of a fabric bed is that at the end of the season, you can dump out the soil, wash off the fabric, fold it up and store it for the winter. You can even make a raised bed from a kiddie pool.
A raised bed is your opportunity to compensate for natural soil that is too sandy, full of rocks, poor in nutrients or otherwise problematic for your plants. The simplest method would be to buy bags of potting mix to fill the box. Depending on the type and brand you choose, as well as the height of your raised bed, this can turn out to be very expensive.
You can mix up your own potting soil using equal parts of materials like topsoil, peat moss and compost. Adding perlite or vermiculite is helpful to stop the soil from becoming compacted and make it easier for water and nutrients to flow through. Place your materials into a compost tumbler or large wheelbarrow and mix them together. Use this opportunity to add in organic, slow release fertilizer, following the directions for amounts. You can also to add aged manure or compost instead of fertilizer.
If you want to grow roses in your garden but don’t have space left, try growing them in containers. They can also add beautiful accents that brighten up your landscape and perfume the air.
Pick the Right Roses
Not all roses will work well in containers. For example, unless you put it against a trellis or otherwise provide support, one of the climbing roses would be a poor choice to pot up as it will sprawl everywhere. Grandifloras live up to their name and tend to be on the taller side in addition to large blooms. Shrub roses, species roses and older cultivars of roses also reach dimensions that make it difficult to grow in a contained space. Leave the hybrid teas to your landscape as they do not usually grow well in pots.
Four types of roses that are especially suitable for containers are:
There is a delicate balance to be maintained when you are planting roses (or any other plant) in containers. You want a potting medium that drains well enough that root rot is less likely, but is heavy enough to hold some water. The container needs to have enough drainage holes so that the excess water can flow out. However, this also means that water runs through it relatively quickly and the plant can dry out faster.
Keep an eye roses so you know when you need to water. A good general rule of thumb is to water when the top of the soil surface is dry–you want to keep them moist, not wet–the soil should have as much moisture as a rung out sponge. You will also have more success if you water outside of the period of 10 AM – 6 PM, as this is when it is usually hottest in the day and evaporation is accelerated. As much as possible, try to keep the water off the leaves of roses as wet leaves can lead to powdery mildew and other fungi and disease.
Drip irrigation can also be a successful way to keep your container rose happy. These systems are designed to deliver the water directly to the root zone instead of spraying over a general location.
When you place a rose within a finite amount of soil, it tends to use up all of the nutrients available. Apply fertilizer every other week to make sure that they have access to all of the food that they need for proper growth. Be sure to follow the directions as over-fertilizing can be as bad or worse than not feeding at all. Apply to the soil and not the leaves (unless the directions instruct you to do so) because foliage can be burned by the salts in fertilizers.
Repot and Change the Soil Every Few Years
If you start with a miniature rose or one that is at maturity, you may not need to repot for many years unless the roots start coming out the bottom or the pot breaks. With most other roses, though, you will need to change containers every few years as the plant grows.
While you are repotting, go an extra step and change out the soil if it has been there for more than two years. The plant has depleted some of the nutrients, and the soil has probably compacted, so a fresh batch will keep the nutrient level at an acceptable level. Over time, salts and minerals can also accumulate in the soil from fertilizers, so this may potentially damage the rose.