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Container gardening

Who Needs a Garden to Have Fantastic Plants?

You don’t have to have a garden to enjoy gardening! These days many people prefer to live in apartments with balconies or lay out the garden as a low maintenance patio instead. In such cases plants can be planted in containers instead of the ground and it is still possible to grow fruit and vegetables this way. There is a wealth of choice in containers in the market place.  Indeed we have expanded our range of containers massively this year and now stock many styles.  This can all be a little overwhelming but choosing the right container is vital.  As always our staff are available to assist and here are a few considerations to aid your choice.

  • Pot Size – It is always good to give your plants room to grow. If you are choosing a pot for a specimen plant make sure the pot is in proportion to the size of the plant.  Tall plants look out of proportion in small pots and are easily blown over in the wind.
  • Watering – In shallow containers the water dries out more quickly than in a deep container. Large plants need plenty of water so choose a deep container for them. Bedding plants or alpines usually fare well in shallow containers such as troughs.
  • Drainage – Most plants do not like to stand in water so good drainage is essential. Choose a pot with at least one drainage hole. Covering the hole(s) with stones or old broken pots will prevent the hole(s) blocking up with soil. Positioning a pot on “pot feet” also assists good drainage.
  • Style and colour – Fashion is constantly changing and it can be difficult to keep up. It is therefore often best to choose a pot that shows off the plant to best advantage and is in sympathy with your garden or patio, be it traditional or modern. Tall, slim plants can be shown off well in long, fluted pots.  Globe shaped plants can be complimented by square pots. Brightly coloured plants often look good in dark coloured containers to give contrast.
  • Choice of plants – Whilst many people think only of bedding or topiary when considering plants for containers, there is a wealth of options and it really is possible to have a complete garden of container plants.  Our website www.dunscar.com gives more detail.
  • Topiary – Plants come in all shapes and sizes to add style and form to the garden; lollipops, spirals, pyramids and columns are just a few popular choices for containers. Buxus (Box varieties).  Ligustrum (Privet varieties) or Laurus nobilis (Bay varieties) are great for clipping to a shape.
  • Dwarf conifers – There are several very small and slow going options such as, Juniperus communis ‘Compressa’, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Ellwoods Pillar’ or ‘Ellwoods Golden Pillar’ or Thuja orientalis ‘Aurea Nana’.
  • Dwarf Shrubs – These can be evergreen or deciduous. Dwarf Rhododendrons and Azaleas are colourful evergreens for the Spring and Hebes for the Summer.
  • Grasses, Ferns and Bamboos – Many are evergreen and give colour all year round, eg Festuca ovina ‘Elijah Blue’, Pleioblastus ‘Variegatus’ or Dryopteris affinis ‘Cristata The King’.
  • Fruit and Vegetables – Try dwarf apple, pear or peach, citrus or blueberries. Who needs a vegetable patch when you can grow baby vegetables, tomatoes or potatoes in a pot?
  • Patio trees – These trees are especially grown on dwarfing rootstocks and good examples include, Prunus x cistena, Hibiscus syriacus ‘Blue Bird’ and Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’.
  • Herbs and Aromatic plants – Many people grow these plants in a trough or an old sink by the kitchen door but it is also possible to buy special pots with pockets on the side for herbs. Lavender and Rosemary are good aromatic varieties as specimens on their own.
  • Climbers – Climbing Patio and Courtyard Roses, Solanums and Jasmines adapt well to being grown in a container.
  • Plant combinations – Dwarf evergreens in a container can be interspersed with bulb or bedding plants according to the season to offer an interesting and colurful display all year round.