• Tanja Šipilović

Pot gardening 🌱

Updated: Nov 9, 2019

As there are many of us out there who live in urban areas, without too much space for a proper garden, here we will show how can we bring the garden into our living space. Pot gardening is nothing else but growing of different types of plants – from herbs, fruits, vegetables, bushes to trees – in containers. These pots can be placed on the terrace, balcony, or even indoors. They are very practical – easy on the eye and require low maintenance. So, let's learn how to make one!

1. Invest in a pot that you like, one that fits the interior and the plant colour composition. Make sure it has hole on the bottom, which can drain all water when watering. To ensure a proper drainage, place pieces of broken pots, turned upside-down, on the hole and partly each other. This provides good airspace on the bottom. If you do not have broken pot pieces, place a bigger stone over the hole on the bottom and fill up the layer around it with gravel.

Pic.1. Different types of pots and the drainage system

2. To make a dazzling container, you need to use three types of plants which perform different functions but work in harmony:

A. the centerpiece: bold and beautiful plant as the main theme of the pot

B. a few foliage or flowering plants which complement the centerpiece

C. climbers and coverage plants, to spill over the edge of the pot

Pic.2. Pot mix (A-centerpiece, B-filler, C-spiller)

First, decide on the height of the plants. Put some soil on the bottom and put the tallest plant in the middle. Plants usually chosen as a centerpiece are: ornamental grasses (e.g. Pennisetum setaceum rubrum, Pennisetum alopecuroides), Canna (Canna tropicanna, C. pretoria), Cordyline sp., Yucca filamentosa, etc. For plants such as cordylines, it is quite important to cut it's lowest shoots – those right next to the stem, because they will disturb the growth of the flowering plants. After cutting, get the plant out of its pot, and untangle long roots so that they would grow down into the container compost.

Then, with consideration to the centerpiece plant, choose the flowering/foliage plants around it. They are usually bright coloured annuals or tender perennials. For example, cordylines can be paired with petunias (Petunia sp.) or daisybushes (Osteospermum sp.). If you use daisybushes, it is advisable to cut the dying flowers near to the joinings, otherwise you'll get spikes instead of the new flowers. Some other popular filling plants would be: silver dust (Centaurea cineraria), Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyeriana), garden heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens), angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia), etc.

Pic.3. Fillers (Petunia, Osteospermum and Angelonia, respectively)

And last, but not the least, come spillers. These are the plants that give an extra lush look to the container, or can make a beautiful contrast if both, theme and fillers, are of certain shades. Some examples are: nasturtiums (Tropaeolum sp.), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia), geraniums (e.g. Geranium sanguineum). Usually, if there is a spiky plant in the centre, sprawlers with rounded leaves are used.

Pic.4. Spillers (Tropaeolum, Lysimachia, Ipomoea and Geranium, respectively)

3. Do not forget to fill in the gaps between the plants with soil/ compost.

Pic.5. Position of the two spillers in the pot

4. Put some extra climbers. They do no necessary need to climb, but they often sprawl longer than beforehand mentioned sprawlers. You can poke a few seeds of different species in the soil, right next to the edge of the pot, so they will grow out of the pot. More species give more spectacular looks to the container.

5. In order to be environmentally friendly, for additional nutrition, use organic fertilizer - palleted chicken manure. Sprinkle a bit between the plants once a month.

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