How Do I Plant in a Pot? - Ask BrightView


Ask BrightView: Episode 6

You're ready to add some seasonal color to your landscape with pots and containers, but unsure where to start? BrightView Horticulturist Bruce Hellerick explains the steps to correctly pot a plant, including what kind of soil to choose, how to give it texture, and even add an additional pop of color.

(For the full transcript, see below.)

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Video Transcription

How do I plant in a pot?


Hi, my name is Bruce Hellerick and today we're going to show you how to actually make a beautiful container like this.

We're going to start with finding your container and how to put the soil in properly so that you're ready to actually plant.

Cover Container Holes

In this particular case, we've selected a couple plastic pots. The container could be out of any kind of material that you want to use. The biggest thing is to make sure that there's a hole in the bottom of the container. In this case, there's only one hole and in this larger pot, there are multiple holes. What we want to do is to cover up that hole some way so that the soil doesn't wash out. It can be really simple with just using a rock for a single hole - just place it right on top of the hole. On the larger pot, it could just be some papers. a paper towel, or even a few sheets of newspaper.

Potting Soil

The big thing to do is to find your soil and you don't want to just go outside and dig up some soil in your yard because the soil is going to be too heavy then the water is not going to drain through the pot and your plant's probably not going to do well and probably going to die. Ideally, what you do is you can either make yourself a good mix or the easiest thing to do is go to the local garden center and get a very light, peat-like material. You'll want to fill the container to about an inch below the surface or inch below the lip of the pot. A lot of people like to push the soil straight down and it's one of the things that you don't want to do. Don't push it straight down. You actually want to have it mounted slightly in the center, that way when you put a plant in the center, you're going to have more of a mounded type of plant and a nicer looking bowl.

Plant Flowers

Our next step now that we already have the soil in the pot is to start planting. Today, we're going to put some pansies in. These are really beautiful pansies - all different colors in here, so we're going to have a nice mix. They're going to come in a tray similar to this and all we're going to do is just pop this. Give it a little squeeze on the bottom and it's going to come right out. It looks great and it's what you're looking for with beautiful, white roots like this. A lot of people want to tear these apart. Don't do that. Make your life easier and actually, when you're tearing the roots apart, you're hurting the plant. What we're going to do is start in the middle here and get it right in the center. It just has to be basically at the same soil height and you'll notice it's a little higher in the center. We'll just continue doing this with the other trays. Sometimes you can pop them right out and all you have to do is get some soil contact in here. We're just going to keep coming around the side here. Sometimes, if you have a little too much soil in, you just take some of that soil and put it in another pot for the time being because we're going to be bringing some of that back to fill into some of the small areas that we missed. We want to fill in all the air spaces. We pretty much have what we're looking for. It could actually be a little tighter. I have a couple more trays and a couple more plants in here, but I think this will fill out real nicely.

Fill in Spaces

Then what I'm going to do is just come back in here and fill in some of those open spaces. Push the soil down a little bit. I like to give it one more little tap here, which kind of brings all the soil and puts it right in between everything and gets everything down in here nice and tight. At this point, it's pretty much complete. It's very simple to do.

Adding Color

A couple times, I like to just do one more little thing. You can add some additional color, depending upon the season. In this particular case, you can actually add some red-stem dogwoods. Put a few of those in here for additional interest.

Now we have our container already potted and it's really beautiful. Just make sure this gets watered, set it out, and you're ready for the season.