How to garden with container plantings

Pots, tubs, baskets, barrels and buckets make ideal planters when you have little of no garden space.

Options for container gardening include:

  • tubs (e.g. empty yogurt containers )secured to or placed on wooden beam
  • pots of many sizes and colors
  • half wine barrels
  • troughs (wooden, cast concrete, plastic or fibreglass)
  • guttering mounted horizontally
  • wooden wine boxes
  • polystyrene boxes
  • crates in a mixed raised bed

Where to place them

  1. As close to the kitchen door as possible.
  2. In or along the driveway.
  3. On the ground.
  4. On a pedestal.
  5. Mounted on the window sill.
  6. On a deck, balcony or patio.
  7. Vertically up a wall.
  8. Hung from the rafters.

Different arrangements

  • Put two matching pots on either side of the walkway or entrance.
  • Use one single large container as a feature
  • Group a number of containers for outdoor decoration
  • Arrange a number of containers both large and small on stairways and terraces
  • Raise a series of bowl-shaped planters one on top of each other with bricks separating each level. It gives a similar effect to a fountain.

Advantages of container gardening include:

  • adds  instant colour and appeal to your space
  • practical for kitchen cuttings
  • space saving
  • adds versatility to your  garden as you can move containers to follow sun’s  seasonal movements
  • adds a focal point
  • enhances ambience of outdoor sitting areas.

Suggested plants for container planting

  • Mix basil, chives, thyme, parsley and other herbs.
  • Blend texture with colour, planting your favourites like hen and chickens, nasturtiums and pineapple sage.
  • Succulents, aloes or cactuses are ideal for hot, dry spots.

Other suggested mixes include:

  • lettuce, spring onions, spinach, cucumber and other salads.
  • lemon verbena, lemongrass, rosemary, lemon balm and other teas.
  • carrots, beetroot, beans, snow peas and other vegetables.

Always include a “thriller”, a “spiller”, and a “filler” in a large container.

  • thriller – one focal plant with dramatic leaves like rose pelagonium
  • spiller – plants that can drape over the edges like petunias, creeping zinnias, nasturtiums,  rosemary or sweet potatoes
  • filler – plants with small leaves and flowers that add colour and fill in the arrangement all season long, like parsley, salvias, verbenas, chillies and licorice.

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