Tag Archives | Containers

Top Tips for Growing in Pots

Sedum bootimus-Don’t judge the results by the crop you harvest but by the seeds you sow

Ten Tips for Growing in Pots and Containers

  1. Terracotta is a sympathetic choice for containers in your garden. They are also porous and let in air and allow plant roots to cool through evaporation.
  2. Try several pots of the same size and or shape in a group (I like ‘long tom’ pots). Planted with Agrostis Cloud grass will create a real impact.
  3. Exotics like Banana plants look shapely and they can be moved, pot and all into shelter or wrapped for winter protection.
  4. Keep a sense of balance between the needs of your container plants. They need water, food and light but not an excess of any one feature. The pot is a micro environment that needs regular care such as watering / drainage, fertilizer and shelter.
  5. Trailing plants will benefit from a bit of training in  the right direction.  Pinch out rampant plants and those you want to branch. Pick off faded flowers.
  6. Constant watering can wash out nutrients so give a weekly liquid feed.
  7. Mix plants of different colours, textures, habits and heights. Variegated plants and scented plants often work well.
  8. Locate the pot carefully as the aesthetic of the base and pot combination can be important. A gravel or coloured chipping base can be very effective.
  9. Do not be too conventional with the container. In addition to the old gardeners boot (above) I have seen a wheel barrow planted with courgettes and fire buckets (with holes) used for displays. Use your artistic skills like many container on the top of barges that are brightly painted.
  10. Choose appropriate plants. Below is a second top ten of plants you may want to try in pots.

Top Ten Plants for Outdoor Pots

  1. Clematis cartmanii ‘Joe’ is a white, spring flowering trailer that can be tied to an upright. Try it with blue Crocus or Muscari.

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Dahlia In Containers

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Dahlias are not the first flower you think about when looking for container plants. The large flowers from tuberous roots are very thirsty, very hungry and can grow 4-6 feet tall. So I would leave the dinner plate varieties alone unless you have an enormous pot or barrel.

Annual Dahlias may be the answer and there are many colourful mixes available to grow from seed. Mostly they are single flowered annuals and are less fussy than the larger varieties.

  • Bambino mix grow to 12-18″ tall miniature semi-double flowers that are recommended for bedding, pots and containers. Sow in February or March.
  • I like the idea of Bishops Children which are seeds to grow as offspring from the Bishop of llandaff and various cathedral cities which have red-purple dark leaves and red to orange flowers. They are mid sized dahlias from seed and you may grow a great flower.
  • Double Extreme is an attractive dwarf selection, producing a mass of high quality double and semi double flowers in an rich colour mixture.

If you want to try larger flowered varieties, preferrably in their own space with lots of compost and mulch the Thompson Morgan have a selection.

Enjoy growing Dahlias and let us know how you get on with containers. Read about Cactus flowering Dahlias.

Dark leaved Bishop’s children Dahlias are looking very good as Autumn comes to an end. Children will be surprised the leaves are not green and the flowers remain so colourful read more
See a mosaic of Pink Dahlias with top ten pointers


Chionodoxa Glory of the Snow

Get your bulbs planted asap, they like the autumn warmth and will reward you for years to come.

Chionodoxa forbesii 雪光花

An early bulb whose small flowers have an inner sparkle these Chionodoxa are also called Glory of the Snow. Judging by the current weather we are in for a good showing this spring. These bulbs can be planted under deciduous shrubs so they can catch early sun but like open positions. They can be grown in a lawn with crocus, in a container or a rock garden.
After flowering in February or March give the well drained soil a light sprinkle of bone meal to encourage offsets and build up the bulbs.
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Grow Salad Potatoes in Containers

Aim for a waxy texture with your salad potatoes and you will probably get some of the best flavoured spuds you have had in a Salad. Waxy potatoes remain intact after cooking and do not go into the water. Waxy potatoes tend to be Early to crop 75 -95 days. Waxy potatoes lend themselves to growing in large pots, barrels or containers.

Early Salad Varieties of Potato

Charlotte is resistant to blight and has a good cooked waxy texture.
Roseval is an attractive, high yielding pink skinned potato will make attractive salads.
Anya has a distinct nutty taste and waxy texture. Very long oval tubers with brown skins and cream flesh but susceptible to greening.
Maris Peer looks creamy yellow with regular shaped tubers.
Nicola will produce a high number of uniform tubers per plant.
Jersey Royals are a well known ‘new potato’ with good flavour but hard to grow well.
Belle De Fontenay is a variety I am trying for the first time this year .
Maincrop varieties include the knobbly Pink Fir Apple, Ratte an heirloom variety and Aura.

Roseval variety pictures from British Potato Database

Gardeners Tips on Salad Potatoes

  • Grow your spuds in half a grow bag stood on its end and you will get clean tubers.
  • Containers can be stood on paths or decking to increase your cultivated area.
  • Provide good drainage and top up the compost when leaves show to avoid green on the tubers.
  • Do not put too many tubers in each pot or container.
  • Save some tubers to plant later in the year – I have had new spuds on Christmas day.
  • Make a list of possible varieties and go to a good seed merchant who sells loose potatoes. Do not worry if some of the varieties you list are not available, try a lucky dip.

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