How to Plant Containers

You can grow almost anything in a container.  You can make it simple with just one plant or get creative in designing showy, spectacular plant combinations that are sure to dress up any outdoor living area!

Materials Required:

  • Shovel
  • Trowel
  • Planting container
  • Potting soil - Sunnyside Planter Box Mix or Sunnyside Professional Growing Mix 
  • Fertilizer - Plant Prod 10-52-10, Plant Prod 15-15-30 and Smartcote or Alaska Mor-Bloom Plants
  • Soil Moist (optional) 


  1. Site
a.    Choose an area that is accessible for watering and maintenance
b.    When using large pots make sure you fill the pot after you have placed the container – it will be too heavy to move once filled with soil
c.    Choose plants that suit the exposure of the container (impatiens need part shade, portulaca needs full sun)
2.       Container – huge variety, there is a style for everyone
a.    Can be plastic, fibre, wood, metal, zinc, ceramic, terracotta …..
b.    Make sure container has proper drainage – if necessary drill holes in the bottom of the container.
3.       Plants
a.    Choose plants with similar cultural requirements – plants that will thrive with the same amounts of water, sun, heat and fertilizer
b.    Choose plants proportionate to the container. Try to choose at least one plant that is as tall as the container and choose plants that will trail over the edges.
4.       Soil
a.    Use Sunnyside Planter Box Mix or Sunnyside Professional Growing Mix.  Mix in some Smartcote® granular fertilizer. This will feed your containers throughout the season. Moisten the soil and mix up.
b.    In large containers fill the bottom third of the container with Styrofoam or empty plastic bottles this will make the container lighter and less expensive as you won’t need as much potting soil.
c.    Fill the container to within 1-2” of the top with the slightly moist soil mix. 
5.       Planting
a.    Lay plants out on the surface of the soil, stand back and see if you like the layout and look. Shift plants around until you are happy with the aesthetics.
b.    Dig a hole and set plants at the same depth they were growing in their pots. Gently compact soil around the roots of the plants.
6.       Watering
a.    Gently soak the soil once planted. It is a good idea to water plants in with a transplant fertilizer - 10-52-10 – this encourage strong root growth and quicker establishment.
b.    Frequent watering is required. As plants mature and the root system expands more frequent watering will be required. Check containers daily and ensure that you water deeply – water should flow out of drainage holes.
c.    During periods of intense heat and drought watering more then once daily may be required.
d.    Overwatering – leaves may turn yellow and fall off or the plants may go limp. To prevent overwatering check the soil before you add water. Put your finger into the soil about an inch, if soil feels dry it’s time to water.
e.    Underwatering – soil dries out and plants wilt. It can be a little difficult to re-wet the soil. If the container is small enough submerge the entire container in a bucket of water and leave for several hours until the soil is moist and the air bubbled subside. For larger containers poke holes into the soil – this will allow water to reach the roots – then water generously.
7.       Fertilizer
a.    Smartcote® - added to soil to provide season long feeding. Use in conjunction with water soluble fertilizer.
b.    Water soluble fertilizers – quick release, ready for plants to use immediately.
                             i.    Plant Prod 10-52-10 – Transplant fertilizer - high phosphorous helps with establishment or a strong root system. Use at the planting stage
                            ii.    Plant Prod 15-30-15 - Extra phosphorus encourages blooming. 
c.    Alaska Mor-Bloom Fertilizer 0-10-10 – Organic - Rich, mostly organic mixture derived from seagoing fish, phosphoric acid and potash. Provide phosphorous and potassium to stimulate budding and blooming. 
8.       Grooming & Maintenance
a.    Deadhead – remove faded, dead blooms to keep the container looking its best and encourage continuous blooming.
b.    If plants start to look leggy or ragged prune them back. They will re-flush with nice compact growth.
c.    Some plants just don’t flourish, even with fertilizing and extra attention. Sometimes it is better to cut your losses and toss the plant into the compost bin. If you have one plant in the container just pull it up and replace it.
d.    If you are planning a long trip – make sure someone will be available to water your planters or they may not be alive when you return. You can add Soil Moist to the soil prior to planting which stores extra water and releases it back to plants when needed.