Container Plants: One Can Be Enough

This containerized variegated aucuba has been in my garden for a number of years.

Yellow calla in my garden in 2019

Yellow calla in same container this year coming into bloom

I always grow my eggplant in pots.

This twisted and curly false cypress was planted in this container this spring.

If you like simple things that are easy to grow, here is an idea. Grow a single type of plant in a container. One of the advantages of a single species is you have one type of light, water and soil requirement. The ones featured in the images are some of my tried and true container plants. The potted yellow calla you see in the pictures grows all summer, and right before frost in the fall I bring it in to the basement and let it dry out. It stays in the same pot all winter. Then in spring I bring it out, water, and once the leaf shoots appear and when the first leaves unfold, I fertilize it. I think this is my fourth year in the same pot and soil. The big variegated aucuba is probably going to need to be moved to the bigger pot this fall. I can tell because it is experiencing some leaf drop and needs watering more often. The false cypress is the newest of my potted plants. When I took it out of the pot, the roots needed a lot of work. They had been grown in a smaller pot than I was transferring it into. I took it out of the container and found only healthy roots along the side of the original pot. I stripped out the dead roots and loosed the spiral of roots surrounding the container, then placed in fresh potting mix making sure it was replanted at the same level of the pot it came from. Then I soaked the pot. It was planted about two months ago and is now putting out new foliage. When it comes to vegetables I always plant my eggplant and peppers in pots and have great yields. To start, the transplants are put in new potting mix, making sure the plant is not planted any deeper than the transplant pot it came from. The roots are loosened, if needed, to grow quickly in the new soil. Then I water throughly. In a week or 10 days I fertilize lightly with granular 15-0-15. After that I use a liquid plant food every two to three weeks. I have plentiful fruit all summer. Two tips, I buy the ones with fruit that produce a size smaller Black Beauty, and I always stake them. One plant type certainly works in my garden, and I bet it will in yours, too.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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