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Refreshing Your Dish Garden: A Simple Guide to Annual Updates

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Are you looking to refresh a small dish garden that’s perfect for a shady spot like a lanai? Dish gardens are charming and a wonderful way to bring a bit of greenery into compact spaces. However, due to their shallow containers, the plants often become root-bound, necessitating an annual refresh.

Here’s how you can revitalize your dish garden with new plants for continued lushness and beauty. (If you prefer the video version, watch the tutorial here.)

Choosing the Right Plants

Firstly, it’s important to swap out the old, root-bound plants. This year, for instance, we decided to plant the croton and schefflera out in the garden. These plants had outgrown the dish and were ready to thrive in a more spacious environment. This not only helps in utilizing the mature plants effectively but also gives you a chance to experiment with new varieties.

For the new arrangement, opt for plants that can tolerate medium to high light but are suitable for shady locations. Choosing plants with varying textures and leaf colors adds visual interest and depth to your dish garden. For example, pairing ferns with variegated ivy can create a lush backdrop, while colorful begonias or impatiens provide vibrant pops of color.

Preparing the Container

Before introducing new plants, clean out your container thoroughly. Removing old soil and debris prevents disease and provides a fresh environment for new plants to thrive. Once cleaned, add fresh potting soil. This revitalizes the nutrient balance, giving your new plants a healthy start.

Arranging Your Plants

When arranging the plants in the container, start by placing the largest or tallest plant first. This plant will act as a focal point. Next, add smaller plants around it, adjusting their positions to create a balanced look. Make sure to surround the root ball of each plant with soil to ensure stability and better root contact.

If your dish garden design includes trailing plants, such as ivy or string of pearls, position them towards the edges. Tilt them slightly over the side to encourage them to cascade beautifully down the container’s sides. This creates a charming spillover effect that enhances the overall aesthetic of your dish garden.

Finishing Touches

After planting, gently tidy up the plants by trimming any dead or excess leaves. This not only cleans up the look of your dish garden but also promotes healthier growth. Water the arrangement thoroughly to settle the soil around the plant roots, which helps eliminate air pockets and ensures that each plant is well-hydrated.

Enjoy Your New Dish Garden

Finally, place your refreshed dish garden back on your lanai or any shady spot you prefer. The newly chosen plants, arranged thoughtfully in clean soil, will thrive and bring life to your space. A dish garden is not only a focal point of natural beauty but also a testament to your gardening skills.

Refreshing your dish garden annually is a delightful ritual that keeps your space vibrant and your plants healthy. It allows for creativity in choosing and arranging plants and ensures that your little green haven continues to thrive year after year. Enjoy the process and your pretty new dish garden!