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. Blooming pots and planters offer bursts of bright colours making an area inviting and interesting where there is no soil to plant directly in the ground.
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. Larger pots and containers will look better than lots of smaller ones, be easier to manage and have greater impact. A larger container also means that you can add an array of different colours. Larger pots 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.
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 ensure they have plenty of drainage holes in the base.
Getting ready for planting
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 and mix in some slow-release feed granules or water-retaining granules. It is not essential to add the granules but it does work 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 shade choose plants such as:
New Guinea Busy Lizzies
Your choice of plant may also depend on the colour scheme you have chosen. 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 mix 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 pot 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 go for 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. By doing this you can move them around easily without damaging the roots. Position them so they will all be well seen.
Planting in round pots
When putting your plants in round pots like these from the Kew Botanical Gardens Collection the best way to create a focal point is to place the plant that will grow the tallest in the centre. Surround this with shorter plants and then anything that hangs place at the front edge.
Planting in troughs
The correct way to plant in a trough is to place the tallest plant halfway along. Shorter bushier plants should then be planted immediately around them. Again as with round pots placing any trailing plants around the edge of the container.
Once 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.