There are a few basic steps that you need to follow to ensure a successful container plant.
Soil out of the garden is no good for use in your containers - it often contains weeds, very little nutrients and very little fertilizer. It also tends to become too heavy, drains badly and can carry pest and disease. Look for premium grade potting mix or patio and tub planter mix - we recommend using:
Debco Pot Power which is the creme de la creme in potting mix. This premium mixture is ideal for your special potted plants. Debco Pot Power is ideal for hanging baskets and containers of all kinds. Its growing media technology combines a range of nutrients and water saving additives to maximise your plants results. Pot Power has a full range of additives keeps plants looking great for longer, is a lightweight mixture and will feed plants for up to six months.
Tui Outdoor Container Mix which is specifically designed to grow plants in hanging baskets and containers for outdoor areas. It provides plants with the ideal balance of airspace, water holding capacity, without becoming compacted or waterlogged. Tui Outdoor Container Mix contains a granular wetting agent to help spread water evenly through to the root zone, which encourages rapid root development, as well as a balance of nutrients to produce growth and ongoing flowering for up to 3-6 months.
Tui All Purpose Potting Mix which is specifically formulated to provide excellent growth for indoor plants, including ferns and palms, as well as for general use in outdoor containers. This free draining mix includes a granular wetting agent which spreads water evenly through to the root zone and encourages rapid root development without the soil becoming water logged. All Purpose Potting Mix also provides pants with a balanced blend of nutrients and will sustain the growth of heavy feeding plants such as vegetables and potted colour for 3 months, and up to 9 months for certain indoor spaces.
This is pretty much unlimited - boxes (wooden), tubs, half barrels, wheelbarrows, terracotta and plastic pots etc can be used. If you are using terracotta it is best if you also purchase some sort of sealant - this can either be painted or sprayed on the inside of the pot to help reduce loss of water. A colourful alternative to sealing pots is to spray paint them with different coloured paints - use spray cans or paints which are polyurethane types. This also seals the pots. Make sure your container has holes for drainage.
Hanging basktets a re a wonderful way to add presence to entrance way, walls and courtyards. Choose plants for your basket to a specific colour theme or for boldness of colour and texture. Remeber that baskets do need more attention to watering than other containers.
In summer months when your containers can dry out very quickly, a saucer is a great preventative measure. A saucer is especially necessary if your pots are sitting on concrete or a hard surface that is not porous. The saucer will hold the water and it will help saturate the complete plant - rather than just watering the top of the plant. When watering from the top, water may only seep down a few inches. Just remember not to leave plants sitting in water, as they will rot.
What ever you decide to use, don't limit yourself to just annuals, remember a combination of shrubs, perennials, climbers and even some types of trees look great. There are not many rules in what you can plant with what - the only thing to remember is that they need to like the same conditions e.g sun or shade loving plants.
Some Helpful Tips On Planting Your Container
Choose a container that is big enough to hold the plants you want to plant. Remember they all grow so be careful not to choose a container that is too small. A handful or two of shingle in the bottom of the pot will help the drainage. Then add your potting mix. We recommend Tui products potting mix. Water crystals can be added at this stage to help with moisture retention or alternatively you could add some peat or sphagnum moss. You are now ready to plant. Start by planting the biggest plant. Loosen the root ball if necessary, place in the pot and press firm the soil around it. To finish, plant the smaller plants on the next layer and firm in and water well. The soil level should be at least an inch below the container lip to allow easy watering.
Containers dry out much quicker than the garden so it is necessary to keep a close eye on watering. It is better to give a good soaking less often than many frequent waterings. It is best to water in the morning - this allows the plants to use the moisture during the day. In summer you may need to water at night. Please be water wise!
Fertiliser & Feeding
Once your pots start growing and as time goes on the plants will use up the fertilizer in your potting mix. A regular feed with either liquid or granulated fertilizer (slow release) will certainly benefit your plants.