Celebrities have gone potty for The Horticultual Trade Association's lastest campaign, 'It Starts with a Pot'.
Here are some gardening star's top tips for potting success. Following their simple advice, anyone can have a go and brighten up their garden, patio, path, driveway, balcony, windowsill...the possibilities are endless!
• As the plants grow, the root systems will fill the pot and the soil will dry more quickly. It's fine to fill the diameter of the container with plants, but make sure there is plenty of room for the roots to move downward into soil.
• Use a big container; bigger is better. A larger pot or container holds moisture longer and also provides more space for the plants’ roots. The healthier the root system, the healthier your flowers will be.
• Mix a slow release fertilizer into your potting soil before planting, as plants need food to survive.
• You only need to change the planting material once a year in large pots. You could add food sticks or granules (something like Osmocote) every couple of months to keep plants growing well, or feed with Tomorite or comfrey juice every couple of weeks.
• Use Universal Potting Compost from a well-known brand, because this will be weed, pest and disease free. It should be moist when filling the container, test by squeezing a handful tightly, if water oozes from between your fingers it is moist enough.
• Dry compost is more easily wetted if you use warm water.
• When using new, dry clay pots soak them in water first, an easy way to soak is to put a cork in the bottom and then fill with water. Remember to pull the cork out before filling with compost!
• A larger volume of compost will not dry out so fast, so bigger containers are easier to look after in hot weather.
Frances says: “There are so many uses for pots. The first is that it gives people a chance to grow something that they may not be able to normally. For example their soil type, amount of sunlight or winter temperatures may be prohibitive. You can move a pot around, bring it indoors for the winter and fill it with whatever you want. In short there are no limitations other than your own imagination! I always have potted plants around the house as they make everything feel more homely. They can come with you from house to house (and even room to room if you so desire) and become like friends. It's always worth putting a favourite plant in your pots around the house for that reason.
I tend to go for two kinds of plants. The first is very green plants. Foliage plants soften a room. My favourite is an asparagus fern (Asparagus setaceus) that is so delicate and catches the light like nothing else! Alternatively I like to grow edibles around the house. Strawberries work really well as they don't need too much root space, but really you can grow any edible plants that you like. Just make sure they get enough nutrients in the pot so they keep producing for you.
In terms of containers, the world is your oyster. I once made a really lovely herb pot out of an old chimney stack that I found in a skip. It looked really rustic and Mediterranean and the porous terracotta really lent itself to herbs, which often don't like being too damp. I also love making my own pots when I get my hands on some clay. But you really can use anything.”
Botanist James Wong has gone further and created his own Pimms Pot. Below he shares his own unique recipe:
It's Pimm's o'Pot!
“Been invited round to your mate's summer BBQ and have no idea what to bring? Ditch the boring bottle of wine or garage forecourt flowers for this uber-cute cocktail planter idea and they will be talking about it all summer long.
Get your hands on a medium terracotta pot and plant a miniature calamondin orange tree in the centre. The bare soil beneath is a perfect place to pop a couple of wild strawberries plants and even a mini mint plant. Sinking the mint into the soil without even bothering to remove its pot is not only easier, but will keep its rampant roots from taking over.
Nestle a bottle of Pimm's in the foliage or even an uber-kitsch plastic bulldog figurine (complete with painted-on Union Jack waistcoat of course) and you are done! A quirky, fun, super easy-to-make present for the mates who have everything, that will give months of pleasure for just under 10 minutes work. Boom!”
So it doesn’t matter what you plant in, anything is possible, so why not give it a go?
The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is the trade association for the UK garden industry. It is dedicated to helping develop the industry and its member businesses, including most garden centres and other garden retailers, growers, landscapers, manufacturers and service providers.