Why use pots and planters in your garden?
Pots and planters offer a great way to get a colourful and impactful garden fast. They are also perfect for patios, decked areas or doorsteps offering bursts of bright colours making an area inviting and interesting where there is no soil to plant in the traditional sense of the word.
How to choose the right pots, planters and troughs to suit your garden and taste
For a striking display of colour on a patio or decked area opt for a larger pot or container, this will look better than lots of smaller ones be easier to manage and have greater impact. The larger container will also mean that you can add an array of different colours and will also give the plants more room and moisture from the increased amount of compost.
This also applies to doorsteps and veranda type areas where lots of smaller pots can look a little busy and messy somehow.
Smaller pots are best dotted around the garden to add colour in-between greenery and rocks.
During the Summer months any type of container can be used just make sure they have plenty of drainage holes in the base.
Getting ready for planting
Despite the fact it is essential that your pot or planter of choice has good drainage holes to prevent the compost simply washing straight through add drainage material such as broken pots, stones or slate to prevent this, it will also stopped the holes becoming clogged and allow free drainage.
The next stage is to add your compost, use a peat-free, multipurpose or potting compost. Roughly half fill your container with the compost, you may also want to mix in some slow-release feed granules or water-retaining granules; this is not essential but works really well for hanging baskets which tend to dry out very quickly.
Water retaining granules can be made into a thick paste and then stirred into the compost to assist moisture retention in hot, dry weather.
Which plants to choose
Choose plants that are well renowned for their outstanding performance, reliability and long flowering season in containers.
The position you intend to place them is also important when it comes to choosing the right plants for you.
If your chosen spot in in full sun choose plants such as:
For an area in partial shad choose plants such as:
New Guinea Busy Lizzies
Your choice of plant may also depend on the colour scheme you have chosen, if you have indeed chosen one at all. Choosing a colour scheme can be helpful in structuring you pots and getting the best from them.
Some of the most popular colour schemes are shades of pink, lilac and purple but for something a little bolder go for mixing reds, oranges and yellows. If you want to create a cooler look white cream, green or silver, blue and grey work well.
Add interest by choosing plants with contrasting flower shapes and sizes. This could be done by choosing a daisy style flower with a larger more post filling flower finished with something that has more of a drop effect such as a fuchsia or trumpet shaped petunia.
The main thing is to get the full effect don’t skimp. Buy enough plants to fill a container completely to create the best display and ensure that these are watered thoroughly the day before planting.
Arranging your plants for best display
Before you commit to planting each individual plant, place it in its pot in the position you think you want it, this way you can move them around easily without damaging the roots. Position them so they will all be well seen.
Planting in round pots
Putting your plants in a round pot like these from the Kew Botanical Gardens Collection the best way to create a focal point is to place the pant that will grow the tallest in the centre with lower plants around that and then anything hanging at the front edge.
Planting in troughs
The correct way to plant in a trough is to place the tallest plant halfway along and then plant shorter bushier plants immediately around them, again as with round pots placing any trailing plants around the edge of the container.
Once your mind is made up and you know exactly where your plants are going remove them from their pots upturning each one and gently patting the rim of the pot on your hand to release the root ball within. Place the root balls in position and turn the plants so that their best side is facing outwards where it will be best seen.
Fill the gaps between plants with compost, then spread a little more over the surface of the root balls so they are buried, but only just. When you’ve finished, the surface of the compost should be about an inch below the rim of the container, to allow room for watering.
After planting water well to enable the compost and roots to settle.