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Container planting with Debbie Preston

By 2nd March 2018News

An inexpensive way to brighten up your garden

Adding planters to your garden can be a great way to bring colour to brighten up your outdoor living space. Our resident Plant Manager Debbie explains:

It’s always tricky this time of year when it comes to the garden. The weather is unsettled, and frost can be challenging too. However, adding planters to your garden can bring some much-needed colour and beauty, without high expense.

You don’t need to go overboard either. The key places I would focus your efforts are your patio area, windows and doorways – areas that both you and your visitors will appreciate.
Here are my top tips for preparing fabulous garden planters:

Choose the right plants

Containers are perfect for colourful annuals (often called bedding plants). These are inexpensive and can be changed from season to season. Many shrubs, climbers, roses, herbaceous perennials and even trees can be grown successfully in planters if the right varieties are chosen. Our team of expert gardeners can help you to select the right plants for your pots in-store.

Choose the right container
If you want your pot to be outside all year round, look for pots labelled frost resistant or frost proof. Plastic or fibreglass pots offer a lightweight alternative. Raising containers with ‘pot feet’ will also help growth by improving drainage.Select a pot that is large enough to hold the root ball of your plant(s), with some extra room to grow. We always advise our customers to place some material over the holes for drainage. This will also help to prolong the life of your pot and help ensure plant roots do not become waterlogged.

Choose the right compost
Our customers are often surprised that there are alternatives to multi-purpose composts. Potting compost is specially formulated to use in pots, while some plants require ericaceous or (acid) composts. 

Being environmentally friendly may be an important consideration in which case look for peat-free alternatives. 

whichever compost you choose, depending on the size of the plants root ball, fill the pot between ½ to 2/3 full and firm down the soil. Place your plant on top, fill in any gaps with compost and level the existing compost at the base of the plant. (Note: your compost should be approximately 5cm below the top of the pot rim to stop water run off). Firm once again and give plants a good soaking, especially if re-potting during warmer months.

Most composts include plant food, but this can vary. Look for composts with slow release fertilisers. The amount of food your plant(s) need will depend on the type, size and speed of growth. Ask a member of our garden team if you are unsure. We can also advise you on whether liquid of granular would be best.

Maintaining planters
Watering regularly is the most obvious tip to maintaining your planters. In the summer months, you may need to water twice daily – early morning and evening are best. Follow the instructions on your chosen feed and check annually for signs that the plant may need to be re-potted. 

Dead-head annuals regularly to promote flowering. Trim/prune perennials (plants which continue form one year to the next) as advised on the plant label or ask a member of staff in store for advice.

Involve your children or grandchildren
Children who experience gardening regularly from a young age are more likely to enjoy gardening as adults! It can be great for their development, encourages them to be creative and they always enjoy the messy aspects of the job!

We have a wide range of outdoor plants and bulbs suitable for container planting. You can buy plants and everything else you need to pot your perfect garden containers at Bay View Garden Centre. Our experienced team of friendly garden experts are here to help seven days a week.