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How to create a year-round pot display

You will need

  • Large container
  • Broken terracotta pot
  • Equal parts mix of John Innes no.3 (loam-based compost)and multi-purpose compost
  • Slow-release granular fertiliser
  • Decorative crushed stone or pebbles
Do it: spring - autumn
Takes just: 30 minutes


Shrubs and perennials planted permanently in containers need good quality compost if they are to survive for more than a couple of years. The addition of loam-based compost such as John Innes no.3 will retain a good open structure for plant roots to obtain air as well as moisture. In addition, they'll be relying on you for nutrients so it's a good idea to add a slow-release fertiliser.

How to do it

Putting crocks in the base of container

1Ensure good drainage by putting a layer of broken terracotta pot or large stones over the holes in the base of the pot.

Adding fertiliser granules to compost

2Put a layer of an equal parts mix of John Innes no.3 and multi-purpose compost in the base of the container and add a handful of slow-release fertiliser granules. Mix them into the compost.

Filling around rootball of plant with compost

3Knock the plant from its pot and set it in the container. Add more compost under the plant to raise the top of the rootball to about 2cm - 3cm below the rim of the container. Fill around the rootball with more compost mix, firming it in layers as you fill.

Watering plant in

4Aim for the finished compost level to be 2cm - 3cm below the rim of the pot. This will allow you to water the plant thoroughly.

Adding crushed stone mulch around base of plant in container

5Add a layer of decorative crushed stone or pebbles to the surface of the compost. This mulch will look attractive and help conserve moisture in the container.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to create a year-round pot display
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james campbell 09/04/2012 at 08:22

can you use habatious plants to make a good display for a patio using tubs

gardengirl6 09/04/2012 at 12:17


Yes you can, but you will only have a display during the summer, as the nature of these plants is to die down in the winter.    Try some small evergreen shrubs, such as eunonymous or skimmia for winter colour, and add a few crocus, snowdrops, dwarf daffodils, etc., for spring colour.   There are some plants that like being grown in pots, such as agapanthus, patio roses, buzz budleias, etc.

Hope this helps.