True Pot-ential

Pots are quickly becoming the secret sauce to a achieving a stunning garden or outdoor area,  Alison Smith shares how to ensure you meet your true pot-ential.

No longer confined to corners of balconies or just used for small herbs and flowers, pots are becoming an essential component of  garden and landscape design. 

A large pot with the perfect plant can be a showstopping centrepiece; rows of pots can be used create private and intimate settings; and the right pot and plant combination can transform an outdoor area to transport guests to a Greek island, Mexican hacienda or the serenity of an English Garden.

 Pots are also a great option for renters and become part of the family, moving with you until you find the perfect place for it in your forever home. 

Today’s pots are often made using a lightweight fibreglass construction that dramatically reduces the overall weight to make it easy to transport. 

Just like Sir Mixalot I like big pots and I can not lie but the best thing is that there are pots in every shape, colour and texture to perfectly suit every desire.

Simon from Manawee Garden Centre said shape was an important consideration when selecting a pot.

“Think about the shape of the pot and the plant and how they work together,” he said. “A shallow bowl will be best suited to a shallow rooted plant. Perhaps a favourite selection of succulents, or an assortment of high flowering potted colour would be ideal. 

“A tall skinny pot will suit a plant of similar shape; so if looking at urns or cylinders consider Pencil Pines or Topiary to continue the strong lines and forms of these pots.”

Simon said it was important to take the time to consider the long term size of the plant in the pot to make sure you chose something that can last.  

When it comes to choosing plants he says olive trees are ideally suited to our Sunshine Coast climate.

Magnolia Teddy Bear producers stunning white flowers.

“Their silver foliage and loose leaf structure make them the perfect feature tree for a range of different gardens,” he said. “They can be trimmed for a more formal Hamptons style or left loose to create a Mediterranean feel. They are ideal in large pots in a courtyard and love a warm sunny spot.” 

Simon said a real favourite amongst Manawee customers was the Magnolia Teddy Bear.

“This evergreen tree will bring a blast of green to your garden with its deep green glossy foliage,” he said. “From early spring and into summer they produce a stunning creamy white flower that can be as large as a dinner plate. 

“Choose matching pots and this easy-to-grow plant makes a stunning feature entrance.”

Crepe Myrtle are among the world’s best flowering trees. A deciduous species they are great in a pot in a courtyard or on a balcony. 

“Their colourful display of flowers can range from white, pink, mauve or purple and the bees love them,” Simon said. “For an even more stunning display look out for the new ‘Diamonds in the Dark’ Crepe Myrtle, with near-black foliage creating a stark contrast to the vibrant flowers. 

“Just remember these guys drop their leaves and flowers so don’t place them overhanging white pavers or tiles.”

For a softer look to your pot, choose smaller plants to underplant with Simon recommending plants that flow over the side of the pot such as Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’ which loves full sun and is drought tolerant. 

Crepe Myrtle are among the world’s best flowering tree.

“Fruit or citrus trees are also perfect in pots,” he said. “Lemons and limes are easy to grow with minimal care and you’ll be rewarded with delicious fruit for years to come.”

According to Simon, the most important thing is to always use a good quality potting mix.

“Don’t be tempted to just add some extra dirt from the garden into your new pot,” he said. “This can lead to drastic problems relating to drainage and long term success of a plant.

“If you have a super large pot, consider drainage gravel, or other free draining material to help fill some of the volume, before finishing with a high quality, premium potting mix.

Originally published in Hello Sunshine Magazine.

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