Choosing plants for pots

Find out which plants are best suited to growing in pots, in our No Fuss Guide with Kevin Smith.

A wide variety of plants can be grown in containers. Discover how to make the most of your pot display in our No Fuss Guide to choosing plants for pots, with Kevin Smith, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine.

Choosing plants for pots: transcript

When it comes to choosing plants for containers, there really are no rules. It’s possible to grow virtually anything in a pot as long as you give it the conditions it needs and look after it properly.

There are lots of different plants to choose from. One of the first things you might like to consider is something like this petunia. It’ a traditional summer bedding plant – really good value for money and will flower for months on end, providing a real hit of colour. Of course, it won’t last forever. It will only last until the first frost, when you’ll probably have to replace it with something else, but it will provide tons of colour; and, as I said, it is really good value for money.

You could also consider using grasses. This stipa has got loads of movement and texture and really does add interest to a container display. Also, look to things like phormiums and cordylines that are full of structure and architectural interest. Also consider perennials. This is a herbaceous echinacea and this, along with things like
heleniums and crocosmia and anything you’d find in a traditional herbaceous border will all work really well in a container. Just treat them as you would in the ground, deadheading flowers as they fade and they’ll perform really well through the summer.

For something a bit more permanent. You might want to consider planting a shrub. This flowering hebe is great for planting in a container for the long term, but also it would be evergreen and provide interest throughout the year. Don’t just look to flowering shrubs though. You could look at topiary – things like box and yew, or shrubs
with really interesting leaves like red photinia and more architectural fatsia.

Finally, look to things that will trail over the edge of your pot and really soften the look of the whole thing. Ivy is a great example – it’s evergreen too, which means that it will be there all year round and keep things looking good for a long time. This campula will do a similar thing. It will trail over the edge. Of course, it’s a little bit more flowery, but it will make the whole thing look a lot softer and make everything feel better as a whole. And of course, there are no rules when it comes to this group of plants. There’s nothing to say you can’t mix grasses and herbaceous plants and shrubs or even with annuals too. If I just group these three plants together here, the grass, the herbaceous perennial and the shrub make a really nice trio and would look really great in a container
together. So remember, there aren’t really any rules when it comes to choosing plants for containers. Just make sure you give them the conditions they need and don’t be afraid to mix and match for a brilliant effect.