2014-06-12 / From The Garden

Gardens in a Pot

By Cynthia Gibson


The succulent "hens and chicks" is a sturdy planting for container gardening. The succulent "hens and chicks" is a sturdy planting for container gardening. Container gardening is a simple solution for those who want a small easy-to-plant collection of herbs, vegetables, flowers or foliage plants.

The width and depth of your pot will dictate what will grow in it. Shallow pots are great for plants with shallow root systems, like cacti.

Troughs, in particular, make a very rustic backdrop for succulents, which create a very interesting garden filled with texture. They are decorative flowering plants, but are typically grown for their interesting leaves.

The most common succulent we see in gardens is the familiar “hens and chicks,” which grows in overlapping rosettes and comes in a variety of shapes and colors. Although it grows rather slowly, this breed multiplies and crowds the container once established. This is part of its charm. Also known as Sempervivum, hens and chicks is available at most local nurseries.


Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. Cacti, sedum, and other types of succulents all have one thing in common: they store water. Hens and chicks, like sedum, store water in their leaves. Cacti hold water in the body of the plant.

There is an enormous selection of succulents from which to choose. Not only is the category expansive, but the plants have some of the most fascinating foliage of anything in your garden. They prefer full sun, but will tolerate dappled light.

Not all succulents can tolerate cold weather. Be prepared to move your shallow pot or trough indoors for the winter if this is the case.

However, there are winter-hardy succulents/sedums such as “Angelina,” “Cape Blanco,” and “Cherry Tart.”

The more exotic leaved succulents can spend the summer outdoors (and will love it), but must return to a sunny window indoors for the winter.

Some of the most spectacular succulents are varieties of “Kalanchoe,” “Echeveria,” “Agave,” and “Haworthia.”

If you don’t have the time or inclination to put together your own container assortment, remember that you can purchase troughs that are already designed and planted, completely ready to go.

Gardening Tips:
. Tomatoes need at least a five
gallon pot, as well as stakes with
ties or cages. They are great when
grown on a patio or terrace.
. The selling season for herbs
is winding down, so purchase your
plants now before your preferred
variety is gone.
. The more you snip herbs, the
more they will grow. These plants
keep on giving, right into October.
. All containers tend to dry out
quickly during our hot summers, so
water twice daily, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, but
not at the hottest time of the day.
Always place a saucer beneath the
pot to hold water.

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