Container Garden Tips
Tips for creating brilliantly coloured pots at home!
Container gardening is ideal for those with little or no garden space, as gardeners limited to a balcony or windowsill can grow a variety of flowers or vegetable crops in containers. Herbs, seasonal plants, and cacti and succulents are all happy growing in pots which can be left in a convenient spot around your house or in your garden.
Plants grown in pots and containers get all of their water and nutrition from the compost, so using the right compost is essential to get healthy blooming plants. Use a mixture of compost and soil in a ratio of one third soil to two-thirds compost. The soil will help the mixture hold water, and also provide some essential nutrients for plant growth. Make sure you mix the soil and compost well together in a wheelbarrow or tub before putting in your pot. If you’re thinking ahead, use the mixing process to add some slow release fertilizer pellets to the mixture. That way, all you’ll need to do is water the plant for the rest of the season.
You’ll find a good selection of pots at garden centers, as well as great free advice on the plants that will work best with them. Think of the spot you have in mind when you choose the size of the pot, to keep everything in proportion. A group of pots of different sizes is more effective than a single pot, and matching pots can work well at entrances for instance.
What to plant in your pot
The ideal outcome for a planted container is to have health plants flowering throughout summer. The ideal way to achieve this is to use a combination of plants with three plants – the main focus, the filler and something that will spill over and soften the edges of the pot. With three plants, at least one, and sometimes all will be looking good. Make sure to look out for plants with the Bord Bia Quality assured mark labels.
For your main focus, choose a perennial plant that flowers over a long time, or has colorful leaves. A perennial is plant that comes back every year, than an annual or bedding plant that only lives for one year. Right now, there are lavenders coming in to flower, Phormiums look good all year round, and you could go for either Argyranthemum (marguerite) or fuchsia grown as standards.
Fillers – grasses work particularly well here, including Festuca and Carex (sedge) varieties.
Trailing: Ivy-leaved Pelargoniums, Lobelia, Petunia (surfinia types) and Verbena (trailing).
Try two or three plants in a larger spot, paired with a smaller pot with one plant.
Water your plants regularly – it’s better to give them a good deep soak less often than frequent small application. Use an all-purpose plant food for flowering a couple of times during the season to keep the growth going.