Whether you are an urban gardener or have a decent outside space, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with potting up plants. If you enjoy keeping plants in pots in your garden, on your patio, balcony or roof terrace, they will need to be transported into different pots as they flourish and grow.
While planting in flower beds is arguably lower maintenance, container gardening has many benefits. By keeping your plants in pots you have the flexibility of moving them around, whether it’s to clear space or just to try out a different aesthetic.
You can also move your plants to different areas of your outside space in accordance with the conditions. So in blistering heat you can move them into the shade, if it gets too windy you can move them together to support one another, and if frosts appear you can move more sensitive plants inside.
The ability to do this means you can grow plants that wouldn’t usually put up with the somewhat changeable British climate!
If you want your potted plants to thrive, it’s important to attend to their needs. Here is our step by step guide to help ensure that you pot and re-pot your plants correctly to the right method to suit your requirements.
Plants that live in containers require additional attention when it comes to watering. You can both over and under water your plants. To avoid root rot you must plant in pots with holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain out. If the weather turns hot or very windy make sure you regularly check the soil. This kind of weather can strip it of moisture and you’ll therefore need to water more frequently.
Another plus in planting in containers is that the world is your oyster when it comes to selecting potting soil. Planting in flower beds means you must succumb to the specific soil mix that you’ve inherited in your garden, and because of that, your plant choice will be limited. The majority of pot plants will do just fine in a good quality multipurpose compost. However, make sure you check whether your plant prefers acid or alkaline soil, or if it has specific soil needs to ensure you give it the best start in your home.
If you want to pot plants together, make sure they are going to be friends first! So check that they thrive in the same sort of conditions. Pair up sun-loving plants, buddy shade lovers with one another, introduce those who love dry soil and find perfect partners for plants that love to keep things moist.
Planting up a container isn’t something you need to split hairs over and is a pretty instinctive process. However, some things to check off your list include:
To remove the plants from their plastic nursery pots, you want to start by carefully loosening the roots at the bottom, just a little. Then you can gently remove the plant and place it in the new container. Pack in the soil around the plant until it feels secure and then give it a good water.
Plants require potting when they have outgrown their current container. This ensures that they don’t become ‘pot-bound.’
A plant that is pot-bound will grow roots out of the drainage holes and all around the bottom of the pot, making it impossible to remove the plant without damaging the root system. If this happens your plant will quickly dry out and find it hard to obtain the nutrients it needs to thrive.
When it’s time to pot on your plant, turn it upside-down and tap the rim on a firm surface to help loosen it. The root ball should slide out without force or having to rip the roots from the bottom of the container.
Your new container should have drainage holes and material, as well as a layer of soil in the bottom. You should ensure that the root ball is around 12mm from the rim of the new container so that you can cover the top in soil and water it after you’ve placed it in.
Make sure that the plant is standing at the centre of the pot before you add compost around any gaps in the sides and over the top. Next, firm it all around, packing the soil in carefully so the plant stands securely in its new container. When you are finished, use a fine rose watering can to water the plant, ensuring it is soaked through.
The best time to pot on your plants is during the spring and summer months while plants are flourishing and will quickly root in the compost thanks to the warmer climate.
English Lavender charming, modest evergreen shrub with delightfully scented grey-green leaves and purple flowers. 'Hidcote,' also known as English lavender, is a popular choice.
The Heavenly Bamboo is an evergreen, small and hardy shrub with attractive foliage, that will continue to impress all year round. It changes from green to striking red with white flowers and red berries appearing in the summer months.
The Spanish Dagger or Yucca gloriosa is a hardy evergreen plant with striking spiky, green leaves piped with yellow and pink. Pretty white bell-shaped flowers bring added interest in late summer.
We hope our plant potting and repotting tips have helped you learn more about how to keep your plants happy and healthy. If you would like further advice or information browse our plant care videos and guides or get in touch with us here - our team is always happy to help!
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