Planting Flower Pots 101

Planting Flower Pots 101

I have to chuckle at this title….Planting Flower Pots 101….because truly…that’s about the highest level class I could conceivably be qualified to teach! :-) My SISTERS and my MOM, on the other hand, could teach MASTERS classes!

I, on the OTHER other hand, have pretty much done the same thing for the last 15 years when it comes to my flower pots….so I guess I can teach a thing or two about that. But that’s about it.

It didn’t even occur to me to do a post about it until I was talking with one of my nieces at dinner last Sunday and she was talking about wanting to plant some flower pots but didn’t have the slightest idea what to do.   That’s when I figured my limited, albeit LENGTHY, flower pot tradition, might be helpful to some of the beginning gardeners out there.

When I moved into my first house in Utah, my sister Rebecca gave me these three large faux terra cotta pots as a housewarming gift. As you can see, they have definitely seen better days. It was finally time to retire them this year.

Luckily I found these three wonderful replacements on clearance last fall for $11 each!


Anyway, I have basically been doing the same version of flower pots for my front entry for the last 15 years. When you find something you like…you stick with it. :-)

Jillee’s Basic Rule of Planting Flower Pots:  

Lots of ONE type of flower in ONE (or two) color(s) = IMPACT.

Opt for annuals that give you a lot of COLOR BANG for your BUCK. Petunias are the PERFECT choice, and I have been doing them for years, but this year I decided to give pansies a try.  I’ve always LOVED pansies, but they aren’t nearly as prolific as the petunias!

Here is a picture of my petunia pots at the end of last summer. This isn’t even at their PEAK!


So basically what I do is decide on one type of flower and plant as many as I can fit into all three pots. Usually I stick with the same color as well. There have been a couple of times I have done different colors in different pots, but it loses some of its impact.


This weekend I found of bunch of these pansies that were all in the same general mix of colors and decided to plant them. I just LOVE the colors!


Start with some good potting soil. Doesn’t have to be Miracle Gro…but it was on sale…so I splurged. :-)

Fill the pots ALMOST to the top. If you don’t put in enough soil…you won’t even be able to SEE the flowers…at least at first. They will be planted too low. Plus, you are going to be compressing the soil a bit when you plant each little plant.


Before planting….break up the compacted root ball of each plant.



Start in the middle and work your way out to the perimeter. I start with 3 in the middle and then plant a ring of roughly 9 more around that.

Once you have all your little plants in the dirt….sprinkle a few extra handfuls of soil in between each one and press down lightly…just to keep them in place.


You’ll also want to “deadhead” all the fading blooms. (Pinch off the dead stuff.)   Trust me on this. Your flowers will LOVE you for it and will reward you with bigger, better blooms!


Finally…..give them a GENTLE watering-in…preferably with a watering can. You need to be careful with these babies at this stage. Once they’ve been watered several times and the roots have been established…you can use the hose on a slow flow rate.



And there you have it!  They may not look like much NOW….but trust me on this one….soon enough they will be EXPLODING with color! :-)



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  1. says

    Jillee, I am going to follow your lead and plant petunias (and maybe some Cosmos in another pot) today. I have seen Jillee’s flowering pots, and they are truly dazzeling all summer long. Now that I have lots of full sun areas in front and back of my new home, maybe I can do this. Thanks for the instructions, Jillee.

  2. Christine says

    A great tip to make your flowers grow like CRAZY is to add your coffee grinds to them. I did this last year as an attempt to keep the neighbourhood cats out of my flowers and I ended up with the lushest, most beautiful flower bed.

  3. Karen Larard says

    I have tryed coffee grinds in my pots to keep cats abay, the cats did’nt mind it one bit. The plants loved it. What did work was tinfolie covering the soil, it looked awful but it only had to be there for a week or so for the cats to loos interest in using my pots as a litter box. Cats hates tinfolie, I dont know what it is they hate abought it but it defently workes.

  4. Regina says

    If you have large pots, use packing peanuts to fill about the bottom third of the pot (depending on the height of your pot) before you add the potting soil. It saves on the expense of potting soil and the pot isn’t as heavy if you have to move it around. I’ve been doing this for years. Just be sure you don’t use the biodegradable ones as water will dissolve them! I keep a trash bag in my potting shed that I collect the packing peanuts in all year round so I’ll have plenty when spring comes.

  5. Jeannette says

    Don’t you find that the water just runs thru the planting mix, and doesn’t seem to be absorbed? I’ve found that I need to mix in water prior to putting it in the pot. Then keep it moist. Anyone know what I mean, or if I’m doing something wrong?

  6. says

    I like your choice of flowers for these pots…especially the petunias because they will look gorgeous all summer. I’m not sure about the pansies in the south where I live…I don’t think they do well in the day-after-day heat. Love Regina’s suggestion to use the packing peanuts to cut down on weight and expense of potting soil! Thanks for the post.

    • susi says

      Plant pansies in November in the South. they will be beautiful all winter until April or May.