How to Layer Planter Boxes

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Planter boxes can provide indoor growing options.
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Layering planter boxes allows you to create stunning displays in a small space. Still, you must use suitable materials and follow the proper steps to layer your planting boxes.


Building or Buying Planter Boxes

Build a planter box or use a store-bought one. If building a box, first determine the size and shape of your planter boxes. Once you have a general idea, cut your plywood pieces to size. Next, drill holes in the bottom of each piece for drainage.


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Once your pieces are cut and drilled, it's time to start assembling. Screw or nail your pieces together, making sure to line up the holes for drainage. Once your boxes are assembled, sand down any rough edges and then paint or stain them to your liking.

Determine how much space you'll have available and the sort of plants you'd like to include before purchasing a planter box, if you are going to buy one. Read instructions on any plants you're buying or growing from seed to make sure they'll have enough room to thrive in the planter you choose.


The Thriller, Filler and Spiller Approach

The thriller-filler-spiller design for container plants is a great way to show off your plants. Choose a mix of thriller, filler and spiller plants to create an eye-catching display. What is a thriller plant, exactly? A thriller plant is typically a tall, dramatic plant that provides a focal point in the garden. Some common examples of thriller plants include trees, shrubs and grasses.


A filler plant is any plant that fills in empty space in the garden. Filler plants are usually shorter than thriller plants, and they can help to create a more unified look in the garden. Common filler plants include midsized perennial blooms and groundcover plants.

A spiller plant is any plant that hangs over the edge of the planter box or container. Spiller plants are typically vines or trailing plants, and they add a touch of elegance to a container. Some common examples of spiller plants include ivy (Hedera), which grows best in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 to 13, and morning glories (Ipomoea), which grow best in zones 3 to 10.


Preparing Planter Boxes

When you garden in planter boxes, it's important to properly fertilize and feed your plants since they can't draw nutrients from the soil around them. That's where layering comes in handy. You can use different elements that provide a variety of nutrients plants need. This variety helps plants in boxes thrive.



You must prevent soil from seeping through bottom layer of the planter boxes, so start by laying down landscape fabric. Landscape fabric has a fine mesh that allows only liquid to seep through.

The soil you choose will matter a great deal, too. A regular planting mix isn't sufficient for a planter since the plants can't access nutrients from anywhere else. Instead, use a nutrient-dense potting mix designed for raised beds or containers. If you can find a planting mix specific to what you are planting, like one suited to tomatoes or flowers, that is ideal. If not, a generic container potting mix is best.


Caring for Your Layered Planter Boxes

Prepare your layered planting boxes days before you actually procure your plants and get them into the box. However, when you're ready to plant them, you'll need to add fertilizer appropriate for that particular plant. When you choose potting mix and fertilizer, do your research regarding which type is best for your plants. In general, fertilizers higher in nitrogen promote ample growth of greenery at the expense of flowers or fruit.


There are a few other considerations for plants in boxes like these. First, be sure that the box itself drains well. If you're going to keep it indoors, place a tray underneath it for the excess water. Be careful not to over-water. You'll need to replenish the nutrients in the soil every few weeks. You can add liquid fertilizer or repot with fresh potting mix, but for the best results, you may want to alternate your method.

Plants That Grow Well in Planters

Some plants grow better in planter boxes than others. To the delight of home chefs, most herbs tend to thrive in containers. You can have fresh basil, thyme, oregano, mint, chives, rosemary and many more fresh herbs all year round.

Keep the deliciousness going with container veggies. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and lettuce (all annuals) all thrive in planter boxes. If you want a planter box with flowers, go with geraniums, chrysanthemums, petunias or hydrangeas. Even some tiny trees can grow in containers.



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