University of Illinois Extension
Considering Environmental Factors - Successful Container Gardens - University of Illinois Extension

Considering Environmental Factors

Light and Temperature

Light and temperature are key environmental factors to successfully growing and maintaining plants whether they are in the ground or in containers. Containers offer the advantage of being portable. As the seasons, temperature and light conditions change, you can move your containers to maintain the desired conditions for peak performance. It is important to know the preferred conditions for the plants you grow, whether they are patio tomatoes that need long sunny days or big leaf hostas that can sunburn in bright light. If relocating containers is not a possibility, or a desired option, then changing the plants to match the temperature and light conditions can be a successful strategy.

Wind

Wind may be a seasonal problem causing containers to blow over. Be sure the combined weight of the container and soil is proportional to the upper portions of the plant.

Plants with large leaves can be damaged in locations with strong wind. Flowers and buds can become desiccated and hence, short-lived. One way to address these issues is to relocate the container.

Heat Absorption

When considering the light conditions in your planting area, don't overlook the absorption of heat by dark-colored containers. Dark-colored containers exposed to full summer sun can get so hot that roots are damaged and the potting media dries out very quickly. Move dark-colored containers to shaded areas, or shade the container with trailing plants to reduce heat absorption. Another strategy for dark-colored containers is to fill them with Mediterranean type plants such as herbs and succulents that can handle hot root zones and prefer dry soils.