Each container in a container garden can support more than one variety of plant successfully, under the right conditions. This is true for container grown flowers or vegetables, and when it comes to the latter form of plant life, companion planting will yield more vegetables in smaller spaces, plus the right companion plantings enhance vegetable flavor and act as natural pest controls.
Bigger Is Better
When growing a container garden, bigger containers are better. Bigger containers mean the plants can grow deeper roots and require less frequent watering. Bigger containers also mean more room for companion planting.
When planting more than one variety of plant in a container, choose the partners carefully to make sure their soil, sun and water needs are compatible. Don’t plant a mixed pot of thirsty plants with plants that are drought tolerant.
An example of perfect partners for container grown vegetables is a tomato plant, oregano, basil and a dwarf marigold. All the plants have the same soil, sun and water needs. The oregano and basil will enhance the tomato flavor while the fruit is growing and the dwarf marigold looks pretty while it acts as a natural pest deterrent for the tomato plant. If the container is not large enough to support the growth of all four plants, plant the tomato and just one of the other plant choices.
Quench The Thirst Without Drowning
Container gardens dry out more rapidly than in-ground gardens and need regular watering. The more companion plants that are planted in the same container, the more often the container will have to be watered. Regular watering are essential for optimum container garden growth of flowers or vegetables. Daily watering in the morning (plants uptake water in the morning) will be needed throughout the growing season.
Containers need to have good drainage, most plants will not tolerate “wet feet” and will drown if the excess water does not drain away. Placing a saucer or plate under a container to catch excess water drainage is not beneficial to the plants in the container and just provides a place for mosquitoes to breed.
Mulch the Containers
Add a layer of mulch to the top of the soil in the containers to keep the soil cool and retain moisture. Mulch will also prevent the occasional hardy weed that attempts to grow in the container garden as well.
Companion planting works just as well in container gardens as it does for in-ground gardens. Use the biggest containers possible, choose the planting partners carefully and water often and the container garden will be a success.