As gardens become smaller or up in the sky on patios and balconies modern gardening is often more about growing and gardening in containers. Whether its herbs and veggies or eye catching colour, container gardening is more popular than ever before. One can save water by watering them with grey water from a bucket in the shower, it’s easy to keep them looking good and it’s an economical way for getting a new look with a few new plants each season.
The choice of plant material is limited only by your imagination. When choosing plants for container gardens, keep in mind the scale of the container and how big the plant grows. Planting up a specimen container or arranging groupings of three or more pots can make a big difference to an entrance of entertainment patio.
The best tip for successful container gardening is to make sure you plant up the container.
How to plant up a container
The most common questions we get in the garden centre about containers are what about drainage and how often must they be watered.
- A drainage layer of River Sand is ideal. River sand acts as a filter and you will find the holes don’t block and the water running through will be clean, not muddy. This is great on your patio tiles and it also means that the soil level will not drop.
- Use only Potting Soil to fill up your container. Potting soils is lose and assists drainage where if you use garden soil it becomes hard and plants can’t breathe and the water does not move through the pot. Fill the container to about two thirds and press down firmly, and then add more soil to the level where the plant roots start. Place the plant and fill around the sides pressing down as you go. The final soil level should be level with the soil of the plant going in.
- Be water wise when watering your containers. Always water your containers so that the water runs out the bottom. Less frequent deep watering is better than a little water more regularly as the deep water encourages stronger root growth. Pots in full sun need watering at least three times a week and shade containers twice a week. This also depends on the type of plants and how big they are as you might find you water more. Ideally your containers should not dry out totally between watering.
- Feed containers with water soluble fertiliser for best results. This gets the food all the way through the pot and is easier for the plants to absorb. Multifeed will encourage more flowers and the organic alternative Nitrosol will keep plants green and lush. Feed at least once a month and if you water daily then you can increase your feeding to every second week as the nutrients flush out the bottom with daily watering.