For many of us the idea of having a large garden seems a distant dream. Many of us live in a house or unit with limited outdoor room, we rent or we just don’t have the time to garden on a large scale. Potted Gardens are our reality.
I love the look of aged terracotta pots in the garden and using pots in the garden to create height and colour where it wouldn’t be possible. I also like to use pots in groups on patios or decks. A simple colour combination of pots and some beautiful plants can enliven even the dullest of entertainment areas.
When it comes to creating my new ‘Potted Area’, I firstly decide what area needs sprucing up and determine whether it’s sunny, shady or both, I then choose the pot. What colour do I want? What sizes will work? Do I want a group or a one off?
Next the potting mix. I always use the best quality potting mix, Searles Platinum Potting Mix. I find that if I give my plants the best possible start in life they are more likely to flourish with little input from me. I use this mix for everything in pots or hanging baskets whether its roses, vegetables, azaleas* or flowering annuals.
Plants in pots do need a little bit more care and attention than plants in the ground. I try to give my pots a fertilise with Recharge Pots & Gardens every three months and a liquid fertilise with Flourish Soluble Plant Food every fortnight. I am sometimes a bit forgetful with the liquid fertilising but I have realised that if I want my potted plants to stand out and look really amazing, once a fortnight is best.
I also mulch my pots. Mulching pots is just as important as mulching the garden. Mulching your pots or garden can reduce the water lost through evaporation by up to 70%. I use Searles Premium Garden Mulch on my pots. It contains composted pine bark, composted organic fertiliser, slow release fertiliser and double strength of re-wetting granules. It’s like the King of Mulches.
What plants to use
Knowing what pots you are using and their position helps narrow your plant choices down. Otherwise you’ll end up like me sometimes with 15 different plants and two pots… none of which match up!
The best thing about this time of year is that I can start filling all my empty pots with flowering annuals like lobelia, alyssum, portulaca, zinnia as well as great long lasting flowers like penta, angelonia and celosia, sunpatiens and begonia.
I tend to choose larger pots and mix a few plants instead of lots of little pots. I find larger sizes don’t dry out as much and you can create a combination of plants that flower at different times throughout the year.
A great rule of thumb when designing pot combinations is Thriller, Filler, Spiller. This means you use different plants to give you maximum impact with height and colour. For instances in the shade, a great large pot combo would be Camellia Japonica (filler), a Calathea ornata (thriller with its amazing foliage) and Dichondra Silver Falls (spiller).
The trick with using pots is to hold back just a little! Choose all the same colour pot and different plants or all the same plant in different coloured pots. Use high and low pots or different shaped pots to add another dimension. Maybe chose a colour combination for your plants like all white flowers.
The choice and combinations of plants is endless. It really is up to you and your tastes. Even during times of dry and heat, I find having small patches of greenery brings a large smile to my face. This month get outside, get dirty and breathe some life back into your old pots.
*Searles Azalea & Camellia Specialty Mix is ideal for acid loving plants such as azaleas and camellias.