By Hilary Stringer, life coach & wellness centre owner
A word of warning before you read this – it can be addictive. Once you’ve started creating your potted garden, it’s easy for the numbers of pots to keep increasing as you spot things you’d really like to have in your collection. It’s a wonderful way to bring colour and interest to even the smallest space, indoors or out.
Let’s start by thinking about outdoors planting. Whether you have a big country garden, a tiny city balcony, or a paved courtyard, there are potted plants that will thrive in your environment. Here are some tips for getting started.
Size Is Everything
When you spot a beautiful plant at the garden centre, or in the supermarket where you can pick up some lovely plants very cheaply these days, read the label carefully to see what the final size of the plant will be. That helps you to know what pot to buy and whether it will look good in the space you have available. Some seemingly small plants can, in the right conditions, get quite big.
Find Out About The Plant
Do a quick internet search if there’s no label. The Royal Horticultural Society website is full of useful information. Does it like living in sun or shade? Will it need lots of watering, or can it happily survive for a few days if you’re not around. Is it an annual – just for this Summer – or will it come back year after year? Does it keep it’s leaves all Winter or only reappear in Spring?
Doing your homework can really pay dividends. Think about a mix of annual, perennial, and evergreen plants that mean your pots will have interest all year round.
Picking Your Pot
Once you know how big your new friend will get, find a pot that is one size bigger than the one it is currently in as a starting point. As it expands, you can increase the pot size, but generally to start off they quite like a snug fit.
Think about if you need to move it – some pots can be really heavy once the soil and plant is in. If you fall in love with a heavy one, can you use a wheeled base? If it will be in an exposed spot over winter, check that the pot (and the plant) can withstand frost. Ask the staff in the garden centre if you’re not sure.
Most of all, give things a try and have fun. Experiment with different flowers, herbs, and foliage plants. Enjoy the bees and butterflies that will thank you for adding to their food sources. See what thrives in your space. Swap with friends if your first choices don’t succeed – being a green-fingered genius takes a bit of time.
The Ideal Lifestyle Shop has a collection named Planters which has a few pots and planters to get you started on your gardening adventure.