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which container plant?

PostPosted: 31 Aug 2009 11:48
by novice greenfingers
Hi I'm new to gardening and to this site. I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on which plants to choose for my containers at this time of year which are not too difficult to keep and would brighten up my driveway?

Many thanks

Novice greenfingers

PostPosted: 06 Sep 2009 20:02
by gardening_guru

There are so many plants that you can use in containers, it is hard to no where to start. I think the important rule is to try any plants that you particularly like in containers. The secret is in how you care for them.

The most popular plants for conatainers are seasonal bedding types that are replaced periodically through the seasons. For example we are just coming to the end of the summer bedding season, about to enter the autumn/winter bedding season. Tender summer bedding plants e.g. Pelargoniums, Petunias, Busy Lizzies etc will be removed from containers and replaced with tougher bedding that will tolerate and survive autumn and winter frosts e.g. winter pansies, violas etc.

Personally, in my own garden I don't have time to change my containers at the end of each season. (I am too busy managing and developing others people's gardens). So I tend to plant perennial plants in containers that will stay in their pots all year round. I have Dianthus (Pinks) that are very happy in pots on my sunny patio.

For me though my priority for containers are the plants that I cannot grow in the open soil in my garden because the soil type and or site are not correct. The soil in my garden is a good loam but I am still restricted from growing ericaceous plants in my garden that require acid soil. So I have Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Camellias and a Blueberry bush growing in containers.

Watering is obviously very important for container grown plants, plants dry out more quickly when grown in pots. But in recent years better quality composts have come on to the market to make growing plants in containers a lot easier in terms of the watering.
See ... 000007704/

I think in your case, in addition to my advice you would do well to invest in a decent book on the subject to get you started.

e.g. ... 043&sr=1-8

PostPosted: 07 Sep 2009 20:10
by novice greenfingers
Thank you very much for the advice and taking the time to reply.

Just out of interest, you mentioned the type of soil in your garden is not always suitable for all plants, how do you know what type of soil you have?


PostPosted: 08 Sep 2009 10:19
by gardening_guru

You tend to learn over time about different types of soil by working with them and discovering different soil types in different gardens. There are gardens where I work that have heavy clay soils, I constantly try to improve them by adding lots of organic matter e.g. manure or compost. Clay soils are extremely hard work when it comes to digging yet they are the most fertile.

Sandy soils are much much lighter and easier to work but are often low on nutrients so organic matter must also be added to these as well. A good loamy soil generally speaking is somewhere between the two; reasonalbly easy to work but with some body and with all the essentail nutrients.
It's also important to establish the acidity or pH of your soil, acidic soils have a low pH (below 7) alkaline soils have a higher pH (above 7)

Treat yourself to one of these: ... 000005009/