Preparing Planter Boxes

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Planter boxes are a fun and easy way to create a mini mobile garden. Whether you�ve opted for flowers, creepers, leafy foliage, or whatever plant of your choosing, know what to do from start to finish. Before you even set foot in a nursery, having a plan of action will ensure the best results possible, and a beautiful bounty in your planter boxes.

Plan ahead

Count out how many planter boxes you�re using and consider space factors before settling on a specific number of plants. Remember that some plants require more room than others, have longer reaching roots, or will eventually creep or hang over the side of the box. Sunlight is another key issue to take into account. Plants and flowers are usually divided into three basic categories as far as the amount of sunlight they need: direct sunlight, partial sunlight, and shade. In addition to planning out where each box will sit with this mind, also be careful not to plant a shade seeking plant with a sunlight seeking plant. When choosing plants, and especially flowers, keep in mind different color and pattern combinations. Often times, a pairing of a few different flowers and a green leafy plant like a grass or a fern can make a lovely combination.

At Home

After you�ve chosen and bought your desired plants, have all the materials you�ll need at the ready so you don�t have to stop midway through the process. The basic tools you will likely use include gloves, trowels and claws for digging, potting soil and either a hose or watering can. Start by filling planter boxes halfway with potting soil. If you have any sort of separate Miracle-Gro or other fertilizer, add some as well. Next, gently remove the plants along with the soil they come with and place them equidistant in the box from one another. Be careful to break as few of the roots as possible. Lightly pulling the roots around the bottom of the plant will more easily help it adjust to its new environment. When all of the plants are in, fill in potting to the edge of the box, while holding plants upright and firmly pressing down. Continue these steps until all of your planter boxes are full. When you�re done, lightly water plants, being careful not to over-water or damage the fragile sprouts. Depending on the temperature, amount of sunlight and weather conditions, keep up with watering plants on a regular basis. You will be able to tell by touch the soil�s moisture content and by looking at the plant itself whether it needs to be watered. A classic mistake, though, is over-watering which can easily kill a plant. When the next growing season rolls around, the process starts afresh, until you�ve opted to plant annuals.


Because of their simple shape, a lot of people build their own planter boxes. Most store-bought planters come with a basic drainage system and/or brackets for attaching boxes to window sills, but the basic idea is the same for any kind. Use a sturdy wood such as cedar or cypress and make sure the bottoms of planter boxes are strong enough to hold as much soil as you�ll be putting in it. Also, make sure there are no cracks in the side that would allow soil to slip out. Other than that, have at it. Planter boxes are a fun summer project, and the fruits of your labor will be sweet.

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Tonya Kerniva is an experienced research and free lance writing professional. She writes for outdoor and patio web sites including

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