Successful Container Planting

The secret to successful container growing is choosing the right container, the right compost and the right plants and then remembering to water and feed. The paradox of container gardening is the need to retain moisture on the one hand without water logging on the other.

Pots and hanging baskets can be bought already filled but it is very easy to plant your own and ever so satisfying. There are so many containers available, wire baskets, plastic pots or baskets, metal containers, terracotta and wooden barrels to name but a few.

Generally terracotta pots will retain moisture better than plastic. Whatever the container, it is important to make sure that there is a drainage hole in the bottom. Drainage can be further assisted by ‘crocking’ that is placing stones or bits of broken pot in the bottom.

Hanging baskets need lining. There is an abundance of liners available from traditional moss to black plastic, with fibre sisal and coco in between.

These days there are special composts available for hanging baskets and pots containing water retentive materials and/or added nutrients.

Choosing the plants is the best bit. Colour theming gives cohesion and sophistication but a riot of colour can be just as appealing and great fun. For summer colour, trailing Lobelias, Fuchsias, Geraniums and Verbenas are always a joy. But why not be adventurous with strawberries or even cherry tomatoes. In the winter pansies, primroses, Bells and bulbs will cheer the dullest day.

Remember to water. The frequency depends on the weather but in summer pots and hanging baskets may need watering once or twice a day. This is best done in the early morning or in the evening when the sun is not shining directly on the plants.