Potting plants on a budget to make them last

Published: Mar. 28, 2013 at 7:34 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 1, 2013 at 9:15 PM EDT
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While we wait patiently for spring weather to finally get here, a great way to spruce up your yard and home is with potted plants.  I asked landscape designer Blair Farris, of Blair Farris Designs to pass on her best potted plant advice for the biggest impact on a little budget. Blair landscaped Brightwalk, a new development in the North End of Charlotte about a mile from Center City. 

Blair says our first decision must be on what kind of pots we want to use.  She recommends we stick to one style in a cluster, like two terra cotta pots, or three black pots.  Mixing styles looks more cluttered than 'designed'.

Once you've chosen your pots, head to you recycling bin.  "We have some bottles and different things we would recycle in a bag, we'll put that into the bottom of the pot.  It saves money because you don't have to use as much soil and if you ever want to move the your planter, it's going to be much lighter.  It's not so heavy," Farris told me.

For immediate impact, Blair suggests you pack the pot!  "I like to fill in my pots fairly full right off so they look good right off.  You will have to change out your annuals in a few months as it gets hotter but the evergreens will just continue to grow year round."

The soil you chose is important.  You can make your own with top soil, compost and sand for drainage or purchase potting soil, which is easier and lighter weight. "This is really good for pots because it does have all the nutrients and fertilizer with pots you really don't want it to be too heavy it to drain," she told me.

When she designs pots for clients Blair chooses both evergreen plants and annuals.  And varying the heights of plants will add to the look. "We have rosemary, sedum, and some blooming plants that are annuals.  I like putting the evergreens that will grow taller closer to the back, since this is usually the part of the pot that is closest to the house or stairs."  So consider how the plants will grow as you arrange your plants.

Make sure once you've chosen where all the plants will go, fill the soil well packed to just about an inch from the top of the pot.  "If the soil is too high, the water will simply run right off the top," Farris explains.

And finally, remember that your potted plants need a lot more water than you grass.  They really need care when they are first moved into their new home. "They need a good soaking because they're in a bit of shock in the beginning.  You've just taken them out of the pots they've been in all their lives, so make sure to keep them well watered, which means a couple times a week.  And you want to see the water draining out of the bottom of your pot.

A cluster of three pots with similar color scheme on a front porch will be a welcoming sight and spruce up any home!

You can reach Blair Farris Designs by clicking here.

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