How to create a year-round pot display

How to create a year-round pot display

We show you how to create a container display that's pollinator-friendly and will look good all year.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do not To do in December

Pot and container displays needn’t be one-season wonders – with the right plants you can create a display that looks good throughout the year.

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.

More container content:

Follow these quick steps to create your year-round container display.

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You Will Need

  • Large container
  • Broken terracotta pot, plastic pots or large stones, for drainage
  • Equal parts mix of John Innes no.3 (loam-based compost)and multi-purpose compost
  • Slow-release granular fertiliser
  • Decorative crushed stone or pebbles
  • Red achillea (1)
  • Pink mallow (Malva sylvestris) (1)
  • Pink penstemon (1)
  • Salvia (1)
  • Scabious (1), We used 'Black-Purple'

Total time:

Step 1

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

How to create a year-round pot display - adding drainage material
How to create a year-round pot display – adding drainage material

Step 2

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.

How to create a year-round pot display - adding compost
How to create a year-round pot display – adding compost

Step 3

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.

How to create a year-round pot display - adding compost
How to create a year-round pot display – adding compost

Step 4

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

How to create a year-round pot display - adding more plants
How to create a year-round pot display – adding more plants

Step 5

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

How to create a year-round pot display - filling in the gaps
How to create a year-round pot display – filling in the gaps
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Keep it looking good

To ensure you have a continuous supply of flowers, deadhead any spent blooms regularly.

Secateurs