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If you have followed Chemistry Cachet for the last few years, then you know I am a huge believer in patio and container gardening. I love sharing chemistry tips to grow an EASY patio garden that anyone can enjoy!
My husband and I lived in apartments for SEVEN years before we bought our home! The only gardening I could do was on my patio, so that’s just what I did.
When we lived in southern California, people would walk by our balcony and call out to me about how much they loved my patio. I had plants from top to bottom! All kinds of flowers, a lemon tree, strawberries, blueberries, and even some bushes.
The weather there was perfect for growing anything. Cool nights, mild days all year round.
We moved back to Texas in 2011, and I learned fast that the climate was way too harsh to enjoy flowers like I did in California.
Cold winters, 110 degree summers with drought…not to mention high winds, tornadoes, and all the bad weather you can think.
Since moving back here, I have been experimenting with all types of patio gardens that do well in harsh climates and are the easiest to take care of.
I also studied horticulture while getting my chemistry degree and learned some valuable tips. Chemistry∇ is the heart of gardening when you think about it.
Soil pH, chemical nutrients, and scientific research help grow great flowers ?
Over the last few years, I have written many posts on planting and growing flowers. Today, we have all the chemistry hacks∅ combined into one post including some never before written about chemistry tips!
Save this post below to reference forever!
And if you think you aren’t much of a gardener, or don’t have a yard, this is still perfect for you. Patio gardens can be appreciated by everyone!
On to the post:
This is my personal favorite. It grows phenomenal in all climates and temperatures. Can be wintered in the garage. Each winter, I bring the plant inside and it always goes dormant. I bring it outside each spring and it comes back to life (see picture below). I don’t do anything special to it over the winter either.
Feed your hibiscus with homemade plant food or compost.
By far one of the easiest flowers to grow! You can buy one plant, and divide it into multiple other plants. Geraniums split nicely, just do it at the large base area of the plant, and it will get new roots quickly.
Below are some tips for geraniums. My number one tip for this flower is DO NOT over water. In fact, the less you water a geranium, the better off it will be. The roots are very shallow, not thick or deep like other plants. It will get root rot and die easily. This makes it a great plant for those who forget to water ?
Rose Bushes in Pots
Roses are my favorite to grow in flower beds, but guess what? I grew them the EXACT same way for years in large pots.
Read this post on roses. All these tips translate to potted roses too! My number one tip for potted roses is to get a LARGE pot. Roses will grow deep roots and need space to branch out. This protects them from heat and even cold weather.
I love the look of ivy in pots! Did you know I have had this same English Ivy plant in this same pot for almost five years (below). I don’t move it, and I have never brought it inside. Once English Ivy gets a good root system, it is very hardy to hot and cold weather.
The first year I grew this, I did have to water and baby it more than usual. Now, I never do anything to it. I will water it once it gets to be 100 degrees.
My number on tip for English Ivy in a pot is to keep it in the shade. The sun is what hurts this plant more than anything. Make sure to keep a close eye the first year and plant in a large pot. After that, you can enjoy this vine for years!
I love greenery on a patio as much as flowers. Just like the English Ivy above, my ferns have always done best in the shade.
I water my Boston fern with Epsom Salt water in two ways. The first thing I like to do is make an Epsom salt spray, just like the one in this houseplant post. The leaves will get bright green doing this every couple of weeks. The second way I use Epsom salt for this plant is to make mixture of 1 gallon of water to 1 tablespoon Epsom Salt. Water the soil with this every couple of weeks. Ferns do great with more magnesium, so this has kept mine look great during the warm months.
My number one tip for potted ferns is to bring them in during the winter. The cold weather is always what kills these plants for me.
Herbs aren’t as hardy as all the plants I have mentioned above, but they do really good in the shaded areas. I like to keep a long planter filled with various herbs against the house so it is protected from the heat and wind. As long as I keep the soil moist, it does great!
I also use the same mixture to feed them as I do in this rose post! Natural is best for herbs.
Other Potted Flowers
All the ones listed above are my longest lasting, easiest blooms to grow. Depending on your climate, you might have really good luck with other varieties of flowers.
No matter what you decide to grow, you can use all the tips mentioned above for care.
And all these tips we are sharing now will help with any type of plant that is grown in pots! These are the chemistry hacks Ø that will really keep your patio garden thriving.
If you struggle with black spotting on your plants (this happens to my roses more than anything), check out this tried and true post on black spots.
Keep cinnamon and cinnamon oil handy. One of the most fascinating chemicals that can treat fungus AND insects is cinnamon. Be sure to read this in depth post for that.
WD-40 is another chemist hack for insects. Sounds weird, but it can be very useful for certain crawling insects. Read this post to learn about that!
Remember this homemade weed killer? It works great for ants. Now, DO NOT spray this on your plants! But, if you experience ants that are crawling on the pots or concrete, spray this on the area to kill them. It will also deter them from coming again. I had a problem with ants crawling from the patio through the back door for months, so I sprayed this homemade solution by the back door area. They haven’t been back since!
Potted plants tend to need more nutrients than those grown in the ground. The reason for this is the nutrients don’t last as long in a pot. It has no other soil besides the pot. Flowers in the ground have an endless supply of soil, rocks, rain water, and other sources of nutrients.
For most potted plants, using this homemade plant food is a great way to add nutrients once a month.
If you have an acid loving plant, the easiest way to feed them (no more than once per month) is to mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 gallon of water and use this on the soil. This is only going to be beneficial for acid loving plants. Be sure to check the details on the flowers before using this.
My favorite homemade slow release plant food is found in Chemistry Hacks for Home and Outdoor. It is almost free to make and is the best way to get all the nutrients a plant needs.
If you don’t want to make your own, use an option formulated for the type of blooms you have.
The best thing to keep in mind for fertilizing plants with store-bought or homemade solutions is to NOT Over fertilize. In the hot summer months, nitrogen based solutions can potentially burn plants. I try to fertilize in the spring, and then occasionally in the summer.
Everyone can grow a patio garden, it just takes some easy tips to get started! Enjoy using this chemistry hacks!