WATER AND FERTILIZER
Can the container be watered easily?
If your pot is not readily accessible for watering, fill it with plants that are extremely drought tolerant. Besides lantanas, Star Hybrid zinnias, sun coleus, ornamental grasses, and sweet potato vines, consider succulent hen and chicks, sedums, and yuccas.
How often are you willing to water?
This question is about time. When first planted, containers require water once every few days. As summer progresses, though, roots quickly fill the space, and the need for moisture increases to once a day. If time is short, pick drought-tolerant selections that survive with less attention. For a list of heat- and drought-tolerant plants, see "Blooms That Beat the Heat".
What is the wisest way to water?
Total saturation every other day is preferable to a quick spritz more frequently. Keep the hose going for a few moments after water comes out the pots' bottom drainage holes.
Is fertilizer important?
Containers must be fed consistently to remain happy. Use a water-soluble liquid such as 15-30-15 every other week throughout the summer. Never fertilize a dry pot; always apply plain water prior to feeding.
This article is from the March 2005 issue of Southern Living.