Container GardeningThere are many benefits to growing your plants in containers. This article will look at some of the advantages of Container Gardening and some of the best plants to try in pots, tubs and troughs.

The small garden

My last house, Rose Cottage in Warwickshire had an incredibly small garden with very little planting space. The front garden was largely hard-standing and used for parking. To the rear, a tiny enclosed courtyard with a concrete patio and tiny raised stone border.

I managed to vent my passion for gardening by using containers and hanging baskets; I had troughs, ceramic pots and plastic tubs covering most of the hard surfaces and walls. It became quite an obsession. Best of all, when I left Rose Cottage for a life in Devon, I took all of my most prized plants with me to my new garden. Instant colour for my new garden!

The benefits of container gardening

Perfect for problem sites

In my last garden, the soil at one end of a small border to the front of the house because dry and lifeless; the results of a neighbour’s leylandii leeching all of the goodness out of it. I spent a fair bit of money on soil conditioners, only to find that the effects would last for less than a season. I found that by putting containers and pots on the site completely solved the issue. The leylandii roots could not interfere with the nutrient-rich compost within the containers and the plants flourished.

Totally transportable

You can take your plants with you should you move house. You can give them to a friend to look after when you go on holiday. If your plants are struggling with their current position in the garden, you can easily relocate them.

Can be re-arranged easily

I know this sounds like the last point but think about this… Sometimes, in a flower border or vegetable plot, a particular plant will do better (or worst) than you hoped and disbalance or overwhelm your display. With container gardening, you can re-arrange your display as it blooms, grows and fades.

This is also a useful and flexible approach, especially for the artistic gardener, who wants to ensure good colour harmonies and balanced form. I like to think that using containers helps me exercise my designer’s eye – giving me plenty of experience in arranging a successful display.

Free draining

Unlikely to become water-logged! Most plants will appreciate good drainage and it is for the large part, detrimental to their survival. Tip: Always ensure that your container has holes at the bottom of it to drain out surplus water.

Easily accessible

Especially for gardeners with disabilities. It’s generally easier to manage plants in containers than the same plants in borders. You’re that little bit closer to the soil and I think this provides a better connection and relationship with your plants.

More space!

There is no doubt that our garden spaces are getting smaller. Having plants in containers offer a greater level of flexibility and appreciation of every inch of our outdoor spaces. As with hanging baskets, container gardening naturally leads to a more ‘packed-in’ philosophy – more plants for your money.

Flowers for your container garden

Sedum, Azalea, Cyclamen, Ivy, Petunia, Agapanthus, Hosta, Osteospermum, Canna, Begonia, Camellia, Daffodil, Helichrysum, Lavender, Dianthus, Gazania, Geranium & Pelargonium, Pansy & Viola, Agave, Phormium, Heuchera, Skimmia, Saxifrage, Delosperma.

Vegetable for your container garden

Alpine strawberry, Potatoes, Peppers, Chili, Mixed Herbs, Tomatoes, Carrots, Lettuce/Mixed Leaves, Swiss Chard, Rhubarb, Blueberry, Goji Berry, Fig.

James Middleton

An obsessive gardener since 1982. Day-time job - web designer and developer and University lecturer.

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