Creating Container Combinations

Visit us at Bison Nursery to see great combinations in action. You will find that we use annuals, perennials, herbs, and even shrubs in our containers. Explore the world of contrast, color, and texture to create your own container gardens and hanging baskets OR simply select from our ready made items.   We will custom pot just about any combination you can conjure.  Have a favorite container?  Bring it in and we'll fill it up for you.  Like to get your own hands in the dirt? (we know the feeling!)  If so, here are a few of our tips!  

Quiet messages are conveyed when beautiful container gardens accentuate entryways, patios, decks, or special retreat areas. By following a few simple tips you can create a unique and pleasing display to enhance your home and landscape.

Use Appropriate Soil

Potting soil for containers should be light and porous. It is a wonderful medium. It is light and fertil- izer free, which gives you flexibility to feed your plants as they need it. Be careful of a chain store’s brand of “Deluxe Potting Soil,” as so often it is not so deluxe. Use fresh soil each year. Never use garden soil in containers. It is much too heavy, and has inadequate drainage and air circulation.

Insiders Tip: If you have a deep container, fill the bottom with packing peanuts and then top off with 8”-10” of potting soil for your plants. You’ll save on soil and will have a lighter container that can be moved around if you choose.

Consider using polymers in your containers at the time of planting to reduce the frequency of watering and overall drought stress to your plants. Make sure to mix them in at the root level of the soil and not on the surface.


You will need to fertilize plants in your containers to maximize blooms. We recommend using a slow release fertilizer incorporated at the time of planting (Osmocote), followed by a liquid feed once the plants have taken root and are actively growing.

Get Creative With Your Container

Some of the most interesting displays are planted in a variety of containers. Some suggestions include:

  • antiques
  • wheelbarrows
  • hollowed out driftwood
  • moss baskets
  • ceramic pots
  • window boxes

Choose a style that best suits your situation and personality. For a large open area, use a 14” wide container or larger OR group several containers together to create a larger focal point. For smaller areas, containers that are 5”-12” wide are adequate.

Choose Appropriate Plants

Determine how much sun your container garden will receive over the course of the day and acquire plants with similar light requirements. If the location receives four hours or less of direct sun a day, think shade or part-shade loving plants. Five plus hours of sun should have you look- ing for the sun worshippers.

Move Them Around

Containers have the bonus of being mo- bile. Use them as a way to spruce up an area of your garden that has temporarily lost it’s luster. Just move your containers around your garden throughout the season to add a pop of color where you need it most.


Annuals for Shade

  • Impatiens
  • Begonias
  • Coleus
  • Torenia
  • Vinca Vine
  • English Ivy
  • Dracaena
  • Tropicals
  • Violas

Annuals for Hot Sun

  • Lantana
  • Rose
  • Calibrachoa
  • Geraniums
  • Petunias
  • Gerbera
  • Daisy
  • Scaevola
  • Celosia
  • Dusty Miller
  • Marigolds
  • Grasses