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How to future proof your plant pots

Written by: phs Greenleaf

phs Greenleaf has been providing planting and landscaping services to businesses for over 25 years, including indoor and outdoor plants, artificial and live planting, living walls, grounds maintenance and Christmas trees and decorations.

Maintaining your garden is a labour of love - you literally reap what you sow. And more often than not, if you invest enough time and effort, follow a simple gardening guide, and the weather is on your side, you can gain spectacular results from your outdoor plants.

But it’s hard work and as the seasons change, it’s tough to maintain the blooms and foliage of outdoor plants for the effect you want. What you need is year-round interest and easy-to-manage planting schemes from outdoor plants that you can rely on.

If you aren’t brave enough to take on a big project – or are lacking in time, skill and space – you might want to hand over to a professional planting and landscaping service, like phs Greenleaf, or why not try patio plants for a perfect potted garden?

Gardening tips for beginners

Raised outdoor potted plants are ideal for less mobile gardeners, but they are also a great place to start your adventure with outdoor plants, whatever your age. Gardening provides a rewarding pastime for everyone from the youngest to oldest who want to produce the best container plants and patio plants.

Here are a few of our gardening tips for beginners that you might find in any gardening guide:

  • Match the soil and climate to the plant – whether planting in pots or not.
  • Space correctly or use suitably-sized plant pots for your patio plants.
  • Be gentle when transferring new plants – they break and bruise easily.
  • Before putting outdoor plants in pots, ensure the root ball is properly soaked.
  • Label outdoor plants – it’s important to know which plants work in your potted garden.
  • Weed regularly, right down to the root to avoid spreading and choking your potted plants.
  • Water regularly, but not too much – avoid waterlogging your best container plants (see our tips on what to put in bottom of planter for drainage).

One thing you’ll have to get to grips with is how to plant plants for pots that will continue to look good and stay healthy throughout the year.

How to plant pots that last

Learning how to plant plants in pots, rather than a flower bed, requires a couple of extra steps. Do this properly and you’ll have the best plants for pots all year round:

  • When planting in pots, ensure your container has a drainage hole to avoid waterlogging. Drainage for plant pots is very important to guard against rotting roots and thirsty plants.
  • When thinking about what to put in bottom of planter for drainage if the hole is large, use broken crockery or stones to stop compost from escaping.
  • Fill the plant pot with compost suited to the patio plants you are using, ensuring that you leave room to arrange your plants plus a further inch for watering. If you include a suitable fertiliser at this point, following the instructions on the package.
  • Dig a hole that will allow for the rootball to be completely covered in the compost.
  • Remove the plants from their containers with care and lightly tease out the roots. Ensure they are well watered.
  • Gently place the plants in pots, working more compost around the roots. The top of the rootball should be level with the compost. Press down on the compost for a firm plant.
  • Water again.

Maintaining your potted plants

  • Check your outdoor plants for water, every day from April to September. Water if first 2 inches of compost aren’t damp (watering can be reduced in winter).
  • Four weeks after planting in pots, and if you haven’t used a slow-release fertiliser, you should add a suitable plant food (not required at wintertime).
  • Regular deadheading of flowers will encourage new growth and keep your potted plant display looking its best.
  • Every season, scrape off the top compost and renew (top dressing).
  • Re-pot every 2-4 years to prevent your patio plants from becoming ‘potbound’. Spring is the best time to do this.
  • During very wet or hot periods, move the pot to a more sheltered spot or protect with bubble wrap in cold spells.

Best plants for pots all year round

Most types of climbers, herbaceous perennials, trees, shrubs, grasses, and even fruit, vegetables and herbs can make the best container plants. However, if you are looking for the best plants for pots all year round, this list might help you find the best container plants that not only survive the seasons but also change to provide interest throughout the year:

  • Golden Sword yucca - spiky yellow leaves with green margins. Sunny, dry conditions.
  • Green Mountain boxwood - keeps its dark green colour all year. Sheltered, semi-shade.
  • Golden creeping Jenny - gold leaves cascade over the edge of the pot. Full sun or partial shade, wet.
  • Japanese pieris – red, pink and white foliage changes colour with the seasons. Full sun to full shade.
  • Bergenia - glossy, green leaves turn burgundy in autumn. Pink blossoms in spring. Full sun or light shade.
  • Heucheras - silver veins on green or purple leaves and white, pink or red blossoms. Well-drained soil, full sun to full shade
  • Blue Star juniper - blue needles in winter that hang over edge of plant pot. Full sun to partial shade.
  • Fuldaglut sedum - red foliage in winter, cerise blooms in summer. Full sun to partial shade.

Of course, if you still need help getting your potted garden up and running, simply give phs Greenleaf a call. We’ll deliver plants in pots, troughs and hanging baskets, established and ready to go. We can even install a watering system and maintain your plant pots all year round for the best container plants in town!

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