Container Gardening with the Southern Living Plant Collection

Southern Living has always been my favorite magazine and I have been reading it for years. They have so many great articles on decorating, gardening, and traveling in the South.  Last fall I visited their Idea House in Nashville and it was beautiful.

In addition to publishing the magazine, Southern Living has been selling its own collection of plants since 2008. While I had seen them before at local garden centers, I had never really used them. That was until last week when I was invited to attend a planting party sponsored by Southern Living Plant Collection and Home Depot.

Carmen Johnston, Southern Living’s Garden Lifestyle Expert, hosted the event. We began things with a delicious lunch and then we got to work. We each got to plant a large container of shade loving plants.  There were experts there from Southern Living, Pure Beauty Farms, and Home Depot to give us pointers.

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It was a fun experience and it is always nice when you get to meet with an expert on a topic that interests you. While you may already know how to do something as simple as planting flowers in a pot, I know I learned a few things while I was there.

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For example, Carmen taught us to plant Creeping Jenny, or other plants that spread or climb such as ivy, at an  angle. Plant the roots at an angle with the plant pointing in the direction that you want it to grow. It makes sense but I have always planted everything in an upright position.

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Here are a few more container gardening tips.

  • Keep your container plants looking their best by feeding them a water-soluble fertilizer every other week.
  • Check the plant tags before you plant. Make sure your plants have similar growth requirements. Also check to see how big they will get and plant taller plants toward the back or in the center of your planter, depending on your desired effect.
  • Almost anything can be used as a container, from a traditional terra cotta pot to a planter placed in a basket, or a rusty old wheelbarrow. You just need to make sure it will hold enough soil for your plant and that it has sufficient drainage.
  • Adequate drainage is so important. Without it your roots will rot and your plants will die.
  • Container plants usually need to be watered more often than plants in your landscape.
  • Use containers in odd numbers for a dramatic effect.

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Here is the final result. I was so excited to take my new container full of plants home to enjoy this summer on my front porch. Some of the plants in this container, such as Creeping Jenny and Alabama Sunrise Heucherella,  are perennials and will come back every year.

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The Southern Living Plants website has lots of great ideas for container and landscape plants, as well as information on how to keep them looking their best. Thanks Carmen for the opportunity to learn more about container gardening with Southern Living.


  1. Thanks for sharing! I will put those tips to good use!

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