Easy Container Gardens
What to plant: It’s best to go with annuals, which blossom all season long. Especially good are showy types, including floss flowers (far left), zinnias (near left), and rudbeckia (center). For faster blooms, buy six-packs of seedlings (or slightly more developed plants in four-inch-diameter plastic pots) at your local garden center instead of starting from seed. When planting them, mix in a time-release all-purpose fertilizer to encourage continuous blooming.
Which pots to use: If you want a lightweight, unbreakable alternative to terra-cotta, opt for plastic pots shaped and finished to look like the real deal (see Planters for Any Garden). They also retain moisture well and―bonus―are more weather-resistant.
How to maintain: It’s easy―frequently cutting blossoms for the table stimulates plants to produce more flowers. And if your plants look wilted in the early morning, that means they need a drink.