Discover how to get the best results from planting in pots, in our No Fuss Guide to Planting in Pots, with Kevin Smith, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine.
Planting in pots: transcript
Planting the perfect container is easy. Just follow this no fuss guide and you’re guaranteed to create a beautiful display. Make sure you choose a pot that’s got a good drainage hole in the bottom. Most do come with this, but if you see a container that hasn’t got one, it is sometimes possible to drill one in the bottom with a drill. It’s really important that it has a drainage hole because you don’t want compost getting waterlogged and saturated at the bottom.
Once you’ve chosen your container, it’s time to fill it with compost. I’ve chosen to use a special container mix here – it’s got everything in it that plants need to thrive when they’re growing in a container. Lots of nutrients and water retaining properties. When you’re planting, fill the container until it’s about two thirds full. Once you’ve added the compost, it’s time to put the plants into the pot.
If you’re not sure what kind of plants to use or how many, follow a simple three plant rule. You want to have something that will add height to movement, something flowery to create impact and draw attention. And there’s something with smaller flowers to soften everything and tie the whole scheme together.
I’m going to add this grass first. This is going to form the backbone of the display. Just sit it on the surface of the compost. I’m going to add the star performer, this flowering plant, next. Think about how closely they need to be spaced. If it’s a summer container full of summer bedding plants, you can space them quite far apart as they’ll quickly grow and fill out to produce a pretty display. If it’s winter bedding, pack them in much tighter. They won’t grow nearly so much in the cold months and put them quite close together, but give them a little bit of room to breathe and grow. I’ve just added these two here and it’s time to add the final plant.
Once all the plants are in place, it’s time to fill in the gaps with more compost, you want to make sure there are no gaps at all between the rootballs and make sure you push it down with your fingers to get rid of air pockets. Don’t fill the container too full, though. You want there to be a good gap between the compost surface and the rim of the pot, so that when you’re watering, the water doesn’t splash over the edge. If there is any bare compost, you might want to think about using a decorative mulch. It will neaten things up and give the whole thing a really lovely finish. There are lots of things you can choose from, from slate and pebbles to grit and decorative bark. I’m going to finish off this container with a lovely slate mulch. Just cover the soil surface to give it a neat professional finish. The final thing you need to do is give your container a really good drink. It’s important you settle the compost around the rootballs and get it off to the best possible start; and don’t let the compost ever dry out.
So there we have it – a no fuss guide to planting the perfect container. Just remember to choose a lovely pot with a good drainage hole, use multi-purpose or container compost and remember to follow our three plant rule, and you’re guaranteed the perfect results.