Create a garden you can change or move at your whim.
We often think of potted plants as a way to green up a small space like a balcony or courtyard, but they don’t have to be restricted to smaller spaces. You can use pot plants to layer your garden, work a colour scheme in with your home and be more than a vessel that hold plants, but rather an enhancement to any garden.
WATCH: Melissa shows you how to style pot plants in your garden
Growing your garden in pots gets around all sorts of difficulties – if your garden soil is wrong for the plants you want to grow, if your garden is on a balcony or if you are renting and there are rules about what you can and can’t do to the property. Another pots plus is they’re portable, so changing your plant arrangements is a breeze.
How to grow in pots
Make sure your pots have drainage holes so excess water drains away.
Use quality potting mix, not garden soil.
Ensure you use a potting mix formulated for the specific needs of your plants, such as a succulent, azalea, rose or vegetable mix.
Replace potting mix at least every two years. The nutrients in the mix get exhausted, depending on how hungry your plants are, and over time it becomes compacted, preventing air circulation.
Group plants that have the same watering and light needs.
Turn your pots around every couple of months so you get even growth.
It’s easier to use large rather than small containers because they hold more potting mix, stay moist longer and can endure rapid temperature fluctuations.
The key to successful container gardening is to include a thriller (a tall statement plant), a spiller (that tumbles over the pot) and fillers. And when you cluster your containers, as here, you can have several thrillers on the go at once!
Designing a potted garden
A garden ideally has canopy plants, such as trees, understoreys and groundcovers, for cover and shade. Vary the size and shape of your pots and plants to imitate this.
With wide pots, you can put in several different plants – with the same care needs, of course – to create mini garden beds. Vary pot heights to create volume.
Use dark-coloured pots – they tend to ‘disappear’ so the plant is showcased.
Create instant volume by using pots with different heights,
Incorporate different succulents to make mini garden beds in wide pots.
Reach new heights
For instant height, you can use tall pots but, as filling them with potting mix can be costly and heavy, fill to about 30cm from the top with bits of polystyrene or empty plastic bottles. Cover with geo textile fabric and top with mix – the fabric stops the mix falling through to filler but lets water drain. Try Winston U Pots available in Java, White or Brown, in three sizes – 39cm for $69, 54cm for $129, or 75cm for $199, northcotepottery.com.
Melissa KingMelissa King is one of Australia’s most popular and respected garden experts and television presenters. Melissa joins the Better Homes and Gardens team as its respected garden expert. “For a gardening presenter, this is the pinnacle and I’m beyond excited to be working alongside people I have admired for years,” says Melissa.