container gardening: how to plant up a pot
Looking to add a touch of green to your life? Container gardening is the perfect way to create a beautiful balcony, patio, or front door display. Here's everything you need to know about planting up a pot and caring for your container plants.
The Best Time to Plant Up a Pot
The timing for planting depends on what you want to put in your pot. If you're repotting a permanent plant, the ideal time is early spring. But if you missed that window, don't worry! You can still pot it up any time between spring and early autumn. Just be aware that planting in late autumn or winter will take longer for the plant to settle in.
For seasonal displays, such as summer-flowering annuals, you should pot them up in May once the risk of frost has passed. If you want winter interest, pot up your plants in late summer or early autumn.
Choosing the Right Pot
With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right pot for your plants. Here are some tips to help you make the best decision:
- Go for a frost-proof pot if your plant will be outside all year, made from terracotta, plastic, or fibreglass.
- Make sure the pot is the right size for your plant. Small plants don't do well in large pots, so fill the extra space with other plants to create a stunning display.
- Ensure your pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogged soil.
- Consider grouping plants in a larger pot to reduce the frequency of watering.
- Select a pot that matches your style, whether traditional or contemporary.
Choosing the Right Compost
Using the right compost is important for the health of your plants. For annual plants or temporary displays, use peat-free multipurpose compost. For permanent plants, go for potting soil like John Innes No. 3. If your plant needs acidic soil, use an ericaceous potting mix, and if it doesn't like sitting in damp compost, add grit, sand, or perlite to improve drainage.
Planting Up a Container
Once you have your pot, plant, and compost, it's time to get planting! Here's what to do:
- If your pot has a large drainage hole, add stones or crocks to the bottom to prevent compost from washing out.
- Fill the pot halfway to two-thirds of the way with compost, leaving room for the plant.
- Remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the roots. Place it in the new pot and fill in with fresh compost until the rootball is level with the surface. Make sure the compost is slightly lower than the rim of the pot for proper water absorption.
- Firm the compost around the plant and water it well. Top up the compost if necessary after watering.
- Place the pot in a location that meets the plant's sun or shade needs and consider raising it off the ground to improve drainage.
Caring for Your Container Plants
To keep your container plants looking great, there are a few things you need to do:
- Keep an eye on the compost moisture level and water your plants as needed.
- Feed your plants regularly to ensure they have all the nutrients they need.
- Prune dead or yellowing leaves to encourage healthy growth.
- Repot your plants as they outgrow their current