Choose your container. The most common is a simple terracotta pot, but ceramic, stone, plastic, glazed, fibreglass, wood, hypertufa and concrete are available to name a few. If you can fit enough soil into something for a plant to grow and it has a drainage hole, it is a container. Step outside the planter box and try something unusual for your container. Try to use one that will not crack in cold winters. Choose one that would be best for your budget and design.
As any good gardener knows, plants will only do as well as the soil they grow in. Mixes for containers are available under a variety of names. A friend of mine has great success with a good potting soil.. Add some good compost and some vermiculite to ensure good drainage. Containers should be filled to within about one inch of the top to allow room for water. Containers will drain better if the soil mix goes all the way to the bottom of the pot.
Now for the exciting part, the plants. When planting containers remember you need
- A thriller - tall plants for the centre
- A filler - plants to fill around the thriller
- and a spiller - plants that trail over the edge
There is no shortage of plants that can be grown in pots during the autumn. Winter heathers, box, skimmia, choisya, hebe, ivies and euonymus are just a few that can be combined with bedding plants such as violas, pansies, primrose and polyanthus. Extend the spectacle by under planting with daffodils, crocus, dwarf iris, grape iris, or tulips to mention just a few. Experiment with unusual combinations.
To ensure it still looks wonderful in spring, water and fertilise regularly and dead head the flowers. Raise containers so that excess water drains away and protect them as much as you can in extreme cold conditions.
Make a statement and go container crazy!