Make the Most of Pretty Perennials
Our guide to picking and planting perennials for containers and pots.
Did you know that a container of perennials is less work and better value than a container of annuals? True story. That’s because you have to keep replacing the annuals whereas, with a little care and attention, the perennials will flower year after year. Plus, you have the option of planting them in your garden if they get too big for the pot.
Here’s our step by step guide to creating a pot of perennials.
- Choose your pot. For a couple of perennials and a shrub or two, you will need a biggish pot – go for a minimum of 40cm diameter. Perennials have bigger root systems than annuals and bigger plants have a better chance of overwintering well. Think outside the box here – if you have something that will make an unusual planter, all the better. An old wheelbarrow, drinking trough, Belfast sink…just make sure there are drainage holes or drill some in if need be.
- Now choose your perennials! The secret is to go for plants that have long-lasting flowers as well as attractive foliage or interesting texture so that even when they’re not in flower, the pot still looks good. See our picks below. You also want to go for compact plants rather than spreading ones. If in doubt, ask us. Consider shelter and sun – make sure you choose plants that will thrive in the conditions in which your pot will be placed. The good news is there are plenty of shade-loving and shade-tolerating perennials.
- Gauge how much compost you need to add to the pot by sizing up the root balls of your perennials and shrubs. Better to have the crown of the perennial sit up over the compost than below it. Fill the pot up to the appropriate level with multi-purpose compost. Mix in some horticultural grit to assist with drainage. TIP: Use Westland John Innes Compost Number 3. Unlike peat-based composts, it holds nutrients better and is less prone to drying out, making it perfect for planting perennials and shrubs.
- Carefully remove your plants from the pots and spread the roots out a bit if they are curled up in a ball. Arrange the plants in the pot and fill in a few inches of compost, gently firming it around the roots. Now water the roots, then fill the remaining gap with compost.
- To keep your pot looking ship shape, feed with small amounts of liquid fertiliser a couple of months after potting up and repeat every 3 to 4 weeks. Deadhead and remove yellowed or dead leaves as they appear. You will need to protect the plants from hard frosts over the winter.
Our Perennial Picks:
Scabiosa delivers foliage and flower heads. The fern-like foliage is grey-green, which contrasts beautifully with the soft pink flowers of the Scabiosa Columbaria ‘Pink Mist’ or the lavender flowers of the ‘Butterfly Blue’.
The flowers of hemerocallis (daylilies) only bloom for day, but they produce bloom after bloom, giving a display for many weeks. Divide daylilies or replace them every three or four years to prevent the roots from becoming congested and to ensure the best display of flowers.
Our Shrub Picks:
Hebe ‘Rhubarb & Custard’ sounds good and looks great with its pink-flushed leaves (the rhubarb) with pale yellow margins (the custard!). It’s a compact shrub that is just what you need for your pot. Butterflies and bees love it too.
Finally, the Euonymus fort. ‘Harlequin’ is a low-growing evergreen shrub with leaves splashed with creamy-white and tinged with pink in Autumn and Winter.
2 for 1 Offer on Elho Top Planter 40cm:
As you probably know by now, we are big fans of Elho here at Arboretum. Their pots are so cleverly designed, come in great colours and are made using 100% wind-generated electricity. We have two 40cm pots for the price of one in cherry, black or lime green. Click Here to take you to the Elho pots that are currently on offer.
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