How To Plant In Containers; An Introduction
How To Plant In Containers: An Introduction. The basics of planting in containers. The video looks at a variety of topics from which container to choose to how to arrange the plants. Steve Redman from Holland Park in London takes you through the technique
Step 1: Types of containers
Terracotta pots make good containers for plants as they're long lasting, stable and heavy enough to hold larger plants such as shrubs. Plastic pots are cheap and retain moisture well, but can be cold for plant roots in winter and are knocked over quite easily. Wooden containers are cheaper than terracotta but less durable and may rot over time.
Step 2: Drainage
The bottom of the container should be lined with crocks to help water drain away freely. You can use broken pieces of pottery, polystyrene or gravel which should be placed over the drainage holes. If you use gravel you may need a layer of compost underneath the gravel to stop it falling through the drainage holes. If you're putting your container straight onto a paved area, use pottery feet or chunks of wood to create a gap between the pot and the ground. This will help prevent wooden containers rotting and improve drainage.
Step 3: Compost
Steve uses specialist container compost from garden centres, but you can also use multi-purpose compost. To feed your plants through the growing season, Holland Park recommend adding a pinch of slow-release fertiliser which is available in granules and can be mixed into the compost. In dry climates you can also mix in water-retaining crystals towards the base of the container which swell up and stay moist for longer than the compost.
Step 4: Plant selection
If you want your plants to last all year round, include evergreens or perennials in your container. If you want a more 'showy' design, plant flowering annuals which can produce a spectacular display but don't survive all year round. You can buy summer bedding which should be planted in Spring and replaced with winter bedding in Autumn.
Step 5: Design
When thinking about the arrangement of your container, consider height, colour and shape. It is effective to make the tallest plant the centrepiece. If you decide to use a variety of species in one container, choose a theme such as similar leaf shapes, foliage, or flower colour.
For specific details on how to plant different types of plants and containers, see our other films such as 'How to plant a shrub in a container' and 'How to plant winter bedding plants'.