Planning a summer garden can be tricky. How many plants should you buy to fill the space?  What’s too much? What’s too little? The answer depends on how soon you want your flora to fill out.

Garden centers typically offer three different sizes of flowering plants at various price points: a six-pack, a four-inch pot, and a hanging basket. What’s the most economical choice to fill your garden space? The answer depends on how much time you have on your hands.

If time is on your side (think two months or so), go with six-packs. Space the plants about six inches apart and plant them in fertile soil. Keep them watered and feed them with 20-20-20 fertilizer every 10-12 days. As the weather warms, they’ll grow quickly, filling your garden nicely. Six-packs are the most economical of the three options.

If you’re looking for a bold display in just a few weeks, opt for four-inch pots. They’re a bit more expensive, but they’ll fill the space in about 14 days or so. Plant them about six inches apart in fertile soil, watering them often. Feed them on the same fertilizing schedule as above.

In a time pinch for an upcoming dinner party? Believe it or not, you’ve still got an option. Go for the hanging baskets - these large flower displays do just the trick when you’re pressed for time. You’ll spend a lot more, but the results will be worth it. Slip the plants out of their containers and put them right in the ground. Cover with fresh mulch and your guests will think you’ve planned your garden for months!