3 Easy Steps to Create a Container Garden

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The weather here in So Cal has been lovely! Perfect for gardening!  So today I’m going to share 3 easy steps to create a container garden for any size home! 

white flowers in container with black planter and dirt

Thank you so much for visiting while my posts have been a bit sporadic over the last few weeks.  Family life has been crazy… crazy, but good!

My daughter’s last few weeks of pregnancy were rough, so I felt it would be helpful to focus on being with her.  Then, she gave birth on June 1 to a baby girl, so, of course, I’ve been spending lots of time being a G’ma!  Praising God for a healthy baby, a healthy mommy, an amazing daddy, and a wonderful little brother that is adjusting well! (I often update my Instagram account as things are happening in my life.  Follow me there to see new pics of my growing fam!)


Container gardening is a beautiful addition to any home.  Whether you use large clay pots, small metal pails, or anything in between, they can bring a pop of color and charm to a porch, patio, step, or window.  What’s more, container gardening can provide a lovely solution for small homes, apartments, or tiny houses where regular gardens can’t be created.  So, let me share with you first, what I purchased, and secondly, the three easy steps to actually planting the garden!

If you like these gardening tips for small spaces, you may just enjoy these Must Haves for Every Small Home!


The Container

I knew I wanted to be able to have a ‘garden’ on my tiny landing-patio, so I did some brainstorming for a couple months!

Yeah… sometimes it takes me a while to figure, refigure, and then CONfigure what I want to do!

After looking at several options, I decided that the best container for my wee spot would be a window box that I could place on the floor.  It gives the look of an actual garden, but still uses a small amount of real estate.

So, using a gift card that I won through a giveaway from the ladies at the Decorating Tips and Tricks podcast (thank you, again, Anita, Kelly, Yvonne!), I purchased the Cape Cod Window Box from Jackson & Perkins, and it’s perfect!

black window box sitting in vinyl floor

(Special feature:  This container has a slow-watering feature which means I don’t have to water but maybe every two weeks!)

The Soil

Along with the container, I purchased two bags of soil (but, I actually only needed one for the 3-foot container).  Good Dirt Potting Mix came highly recommended by Kelly, and it seems my plants love it!

But, between you and me, if you ever need to give your plants some extra ‘umph’, Kelly has a great fertilizer recipe  that she actually recommends you use when you first plant your container garden, but I think you can mix it in at any time, too.bag of good dirt potting soil sitting in room with a doorstop in front of the bag

The Plants

So… container gardening can use LOTS of different plants, depending on the container shape and size.

You can use draping plants, tall plants, “full” plants… separately or all together.. . you get the picture! 😉

For my window box, I wanted to make it simple and ‘clean’.  One thing that is wonderful about gardening of any type, you can change it up with the seasons, which I can see myself doing in the future!

I think I’ve shared before that My Wee Abode is a loft apartment.  At the top of the stairs, leading to my front door, is small landing which is the only area I have to create a ‘garden’.  This area gets full sun for almost the whole day!  So, after an online chat with a J&P garden consultant, I decided that I would purchase three white Sunpatiens.  More about those in a minute…two potted plants resting on a butcher block counter


So, when you don’t have a garage or yard to do your planting and/or gardening, where do you do it?  Why in your kitchen, or course!

Pfff, anyone knows that!

Most of my DIY projects, and now my gardening, happen in my kitchen.  It’s the largest open space I have and has an easy-to-clean surface. 😉

Soil Prep

So, after I dragged my window box into my kitchen, it was time to fill it with soil.

But first, J&P recommend filling the bottom of the container with several inches of a drainage-type material.  They actually suggest using foam peanuts if you are planting non-edible plants, which worked out great, as the window box was packed in those little white thingie-wingies!  Re-use and recycle!black window box with foam peanuts inside on a kitchen floor

Next, I filled the window box with soil, just about to the very top.  No trick to this… just pour it in.  (This is where you might want to mix in Kelly’s fertilizer recipe.)

After the container was filled with soil (on top of the white foam disguised as nutty goodness), it was time to plant!black window box filled with soil on kitchen floor


After arranging the potted plants in the exact spots I wanted them, I then dug out the dirt in those spaces.  The holes were dug out deep enough for the pots to sit inside.  This was to make sure that the plants would nicely fit into the area once I took them out of the container.

I also made sure that the topsoil of the pot and the topsoil of the window box were level with each other.black window box with dirt inside and plant in white pot sitting on top

black window box with dirt inside and plant in white pot sitting in dirt

The plants were then ready to be placed in the container.  I took the plants out of the little plastic pots and removed most of the soil from the roots.  Don’t worry… it’s pretty hard to hurt these plants.  You can even remove some of the roots, and they will just keep going and going and going.

I placed the plants in the holes and then filled the holes with the soil I had dug-out earlier, making sure to push the soil in a bit.  You don’t want to pack it like brown sugar for a cookie recipe, but you do want to give the plant a nice snug home, especially at the very top.  Be sure that all the roots are in the soil, just as it was in the soil in the pot. (I hope that makes sense!)

black window box with dirt inside and plants in in dirt with shovel

black window box with dirt inside and plants in in dirt with shovel with aqua dish in background


Next, I slid the window box back outside and gave the whole container a good watering (the next day, too)!  And I was done!

Progress and Results

Now, I grew up planting impatiens in our family garden. They are easy to plant, hearty, and pest resistant.  Plus, they come in an array of colors!

But, these Sunpatiens (part of the family of impatiens) are a bit different. These plants have been bred to withstand constant direct sunlight and have even more of a hearty ‘spirit’ than their sister plants.  The Sunpatiens’ leaves are dark and thick and are known for their thorny-like edges, but they are actually soft to the touch.black container with green plant in soilSunpatien after about two weeks, healthy and starting to show buds.

The white flowers on the plants I purchased (they also come in a variety of colors) were barely in the bud stage when I received them (in the mail!)  And boy, did they get A LOT of buds!!!

black container with green plant in soilTwo more weeks, and seeing lots of buds… 

black container with green plant in soilStarting to open… it actually took another week before I saw….

black container with green plant with white flower in soilFirst flower took almost 6 weeks to bloom!

And now!!!!

black container with green plant with lots of white flower in soil

black container with green plant with lots of white flower in soil

black container with green plant with lots of white flower in soil

The blooms on Sunpatiens are quite large (most are at least 2.5 inches!), and the petals are quite a bit thicker than normal impatiens, too!  And these white flowers are REALLY white!!!black container with green plant with lots of white flower in soil

White flower with greenery

I even planted a couple miniature Boogie-Woogie roses between the Sunpatiens.  I’m not sure I will see any roses this year… It may be even too crowded in the container for them to grow later, but we’ll see.black window box with white flowers and greenery on patio floor

I have a tad bit of purple in my garden, too!  I think I need to replant this…it’s looking a bit scraggly… or maybe I need to use Kelly’s recipe!!!purple flower plant in black pot

purple flower on stem

Just a couple more of the Sunpatiens…. Can you tell I’m REALLY happy with these???  I think these will be my go-to flowers for a while to come!White flowers with greenery

And the buds just keep coming!!!White flowers with greenery and buds

So, are you sold on container gardening, just like me?  What are your fave plants to put in a container?  Let me know in the comments!  I read and reply to every single one!

And, as many of you know, I love bringing glory to the Lord through My Wee Abode. Take a look at this short bible study for gardeners on reap what you sow from Apryl at Money Wise Steward.

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  1. Wow, you did it without killing them! That is so great, those waxy white flowers are gorgeous. I would like to try and do edible plants in containers on our deck…but we never really get full sunshine. I wonder what shady plant I could try…

    1. Thanks, Holly… So glad you dropped by! Yes, they are really SO pretty! The planting zones are for 7-11… are you in 5? You have so many lovely flowers in your home… do they come from your garden? Hugs and hearts, friend!

  2. Julie you just solved a mystery for me. I had photographed these in another color but was not sure if they were impatiens or not because of the different type of leaf. But now I see that it is the same leaf with those jagged edges. Thank you for solving that one for me. I thought I\d never figure it out.

    Your container garden looks fantastic!

    1. Yes, Mary… when I saw them in your post, I thought, “Hey!!! Those are my flowers, only in lavender!” 😉 The color was SO pretty! Thanks for the kind words, too! <3

  3. Sooo..pretty!!! I’ve never heard/seen about Sunpatients. Very cool!
    Thanks for the ‘popcorn’ tip too! Never knew about that one either!

    1. Thanks, sissy! I’m soooo happy with them… you need to come over to see them, and watch a drama and have a WW dessert! 😉

  4. So beautiful. Sunpatiens remind me of New Guinea Impatiens but they grow even better in the heat. A great choice for sunny spots and I love that you planted all white. It looks great with the dark J&P planter. Since you live in CA you can grow just about anything for a long time. Love your packing peanuts tip. I have a few large plants that I stuff with old soda cans and empty plastic nursery containers to lighten the load and save on soil.

    1. Ohhhh… that cans/plastic containers idea is GREAT! I’m running now to Google New Guinea Impatiens. I can’t believe how profusely mine have grown, and just keep going. Hoping my Boogie Woogies do okay… J&P said the would! We’ll see! Hugs and hearts, Patti… can’t wait for July!

  5. Wow! Just WOW! Your container garden looks so pretty! I have the opposite effect on my plants. They look so cute at first and then—-yikes. 🙂

    Happy day friend!

    1. Oh, thank you, KariAnne! Hey, girl… you are just ‘so close to amazing’ with plants! I bet you have an amazing story behind your ‘yikes’! 😉 Thanks dropping in, and for the encouragement! Hugs and hearts, sister!

  6. Wow, your flowers look amazing. I love container gardening as you can easily move your plants for decor reasons, or to give the plant the right amount of sunlight. Your flowers obviously have the perfect spot. So nice.

    1. Aw, your words of encouragement mean a lot to me, Leanna! Yes, I think they are very happy where they are living… hope the roses warm up to the area, too! 😉 Hugs, friend!!! Haven is coming!

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Sandy! Yeah… I wasn’t quite sure if using the peanuts was the best thing, but the plants don’t seem to be bothered by it at all! 🙂 Have a great week!

  7. We’ve done container gardening for years and love it! So versatile because we can move them around easily. You’ve given a great tutorial for beginners to use and the styrofoam peanuts are an excellent idea without adding too much weight!

    1. So happy you came by, Carol! Container gardening is wonderful, and pretty easy, too! Thanks for the encouragement. Yeah, that styrofoam tip is pretty nifty! 😉

    1. Hi, Barbara… Thanks so much for coming by and leaving a sweet note, as always! You are a sweet friend! Thanks for sharing, too! Hugs and hearts!

    1. Thanks, Janet! I need to replant some of these amazing impatiens, as my patio is so much larger now! 😉

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