From dwarf tree varieties to herbs and fruits that thrive in containers, there’s a giant range of plants that can be grown successfully in pots. By carefully choosing the right pot size and treating your plant right, you can ensure your plants will thrive all year long.
Why use pots?
Pots are a fantastic idea if you’re limited in space both indoors and outdoors as they can provide ideal growing conditions for your plants no matter where you place them. Whatever the reason for growing in a pot, the key to good growth comes down to the pot, what goes in it and how well you water and fertilise.
The key is to choose the right plants that will suit the area you place them – for instance, plants that require ample sun will not thrive indoors no matter what kind of soil you pick. From there, you’ll want to ensure you’re watering your potted plants sufficiently and fertilising them as required.
One of the key advantages to growing plants in pots is the ability to tailor the soil to your specific plant without impacting surrounding plants. Camellias and blueberries, for example, thrive in acidic potting mix in areas where the soil is alkaline.
Here’s an important tip: plants need to be regularly re-potted. Re-potting can be moving plants into a slightly larger pot, or taking them from an existing pot, trimming the roots, renewing the potting mix and replanting them back in the same pot.
The water factor
In addition to this, tailoring your soil requirements is a must for plants that prefer dryer conditions with ample amounts of draining – just add in perlite or gravel to ensure the water runs straight through.
Pots should also have drainage holes in their bases and be slightly elevated so the base is not resting on the ground. Use pot feet or just a couple of bricks or chocks to raise pots.
Potting mix was developed for use in pots. Unlike soil, which can set like concrete, fail to drain or even produce weeds, potting mix is free draining, sterile and compatible with plants. A well-composted mix has the right balance of particle sizes to hold air and water and has nutrients to feed the plants that are grown in it.
Australia led the world in the development of soil-less potting mixes. The UK mixes, which are often called John Inness mixes have been around since the 1960s, but these contain loam or peats. Most Australian potting mixes are produced from composted pine bark as a side industry to the timber industry.
Take care opening bags of potting mix as – like all soils, composts and organic mulches – potting mix may contain Legionella organisms. These can be inhaled and cause Legionnaire’s disease in some people. Avoid breathing in dust by opening bags with care and if necessary moistening the mix with water. And always wash your hands thoroughly after handling potting mix.
Text: Homes To Love