* Different colors go together. It's just their intensity that can throw off a combination. So go with all primary colors or all pastels. And if you're not comfortable with two colors together, throw a white in between.
* Place a coffee filter at the bottom of a pot to keep the soil from spilling out of the hole. Alternatives: leaves or a paper towel. Skip using foam peanuts as a filler unless you have a truly giant pot; they take up valuable growing space.
* You don't have to replace all the soil in a pot from year to year, but be sure that at least the top third is new potting soil. The coarser the potting mix the better.
* Warminski is not much for putting a spike in the middle of a pot for a focal point. In his example for the master gardeners, he put a croton, the tallest plant, as the focal point at the side of the pot. That way it can grow out the side and not cover everything else in the pot.
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* If you want you can mix a little Soil Moist in as you fill the container with soil to retain moisture.
* He plants fairly tightly for immediate gratification. No waiting to give the container impact. If any of the plants don't make it, yank it out and it won't matter.
* He includes a mix of colors, textures and habits including upright gazanias, and petunias and sweet potato vines to trail out the sides. The colors were hot red, purple, yellow, orange and lime green.
* Add a slow-release, long-acting fertilizer such as Osmocote if plants have been fertilized up to the point of your planting them. Don't expect Osmocote to act quickly in the case of a plant that's starving for nutrients, because it won't.
* Don't be scared to use shrubs in pots, or herbs in hanging baskets.
* Terra-cotta pots date back to the days when people used moisture-holding garden soil in pots instead of fast-draining potting soil. Plants grow better and easier in pottery or plastic, unless you're used to terra-cotta.
* Place pot feet or river rocks under pots to keep them from staining a deck.
* If a plant is wilting, check to make sure it's dry before you water; too much moisture also can make a potted plant wilt.
* "Plants are to make you feel better." If you leave them hanging around half dead, you must love misery. If one plant goes bad in a pot, pull it out and replace it with another if you need to fill that space.
* Self-watering pots can accumulate salt. Flush them quarterly by filling the reservoir with water then placing the pot on its side to drain. You'll then need to fertilize the plants.
* Prune petunias when they start getting bare-stemmed. Do it before you go on vacation so you don't have to look at them.
* Budworms often get to petunias and geraniums. If so you have to spray them every week. (Warminski bans geraniums from his yard for this reason.)