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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
  • 1 x red achillea
  • 1 x pink mallow (Malva sylvestris)
  • 1 x pink penstemon
  • 1 x salvia
  • 1 x scabious 'Black-Purple'
Do it: spring - autumn
Takes just: 30 minutes


Shrubs and perennials planted permanently in containers need good quality compost if they are to survive. 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.

It's a good idea to repot the plants every year. Simply remove them from the pot, divide the root ball to halve the size of each plant and then put one half back in the pot with fresh compost. The other half can be planted in your border, another pot, or given to a friend.

How to do it


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


Put 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.


Knock 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.


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


Fill in any gaps with compost. Water well and allow to drain.

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.

Sisb 15/05/2015 at 09:33

I have bought this wire hanging unit from wilkinson so. Never seen one before. It is large and square not too much depth and has holes at front and sides. Is sempervivum a good for all round year display.