Single Container Arrangements Of Plants

Plants will thrive if they’re I placed together in a single container provided you make sure that they’re compatible.

Using compatible plants Before you start planting your garden-in-a-pot, check that the varieties you want to use like the some amount of light and water.

It is easy to over-water a container without drainage. A dry surface is no indication of the soil moisture below. Use a moisture meter or an indicator card to check the moisture before you water.

Planning the shape single container displays

Choose the shape of your arrangement according to the container shape and where you want to put it. Will it be viewed from one side only? Or is it to be seen from every angle — for instance on a coffee or dining table? Do you need a low arrangement so that you can see over it, or is it to form a tall focus against a plain wall or in a corner?

A large bowl or basket could contain plants that form a dome shape or a triangle. A trough could hold plants of equal height along its length or plants starting tall at one end and descending in size to the opposite end.

A large, square container could have one tall plant with another about a third its size placed slightly to the front and to one side, and a low, large-leafed plant overhanging the front edge.

Choosing your plants

The most effective groups are those that are kept simple and based on one theme only — for example, colour, shape or texture.

A group using one type of plant creates a strong impression. For a well-lit position try Painted Leaf Begonias (Begonia rex hybrids). In a very sunny spot use Flaming Swords (Vriesea splendens); in a less well-lit area Ferns are effective.

With flowering plants like Primulas (P. malacoides) or African Violets (Saintpaulia), place them in the container in their pots and surround with peat. They can then be removed quite easily after flowering.

Plants with variegated foliage look very effective in an arrangement but include a green-leaved plant to form a background. Green-leaved plants of varying tones also look good grouped, or mix smooth, glossy-leaved plants with rough or highly textured varieties.

How to plant

If your container has no drainage holes form a drainage layer with clay pellets so that roots don’t sit in water. Put some charcoal on top, then part fill with compost. Water plants well in advance. Position them so that the pot and container rims are at the same height. Lean outer plants towards the edge and fill spaces between with compost.

Choosing containers

The main point to bear in mind when choosing a container for a group of plants is that it should be deep enough to give roots sufficient space and to prevent the potting mixture from drying out too quickly — or not at all.

Earthenware casseroles and terracotta pots highlight country style and show off unsophisticated plants especially well. A group of flowering plants will be shown off if you pick an old china bowl with a design in the same colours.

Exotic plants often look best in a simple white container which would also show off variegated or white-streaked leaves.

Baskets are particularly suited to simple country plants. They need to be lined with polythene — a black bin liner will do — to ensure there’s no leakage of water, before putting plants in, in their pots.

Some other suggestions for containers include:

  • Large, decorated old tins
  • Wooden boxes
  • Decoratively painted washing-up bowl
  • Garden trug
  • Old decorated potties

Unusual effectsSingle Container Arrangements Of Plants

Consider mixing plants with other natural materials. In the picture three Club Mosses (Selaginella) are surrounded by stones that show off their bright green, curly leaves. Two Earth Stars (Cryptanthus) are planted in another section allowing them to be watered separately (they prefer a drier soil).

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