No Room? No Excuse!

We've all done it. We will all do it again. Buy a plant and then think about where to put it in the garden. Only to find the garden is full. No more spare soil. No space. Full. That’s it. What a waste of money. Well, all I say is, “Rubbish!” Containers are the answer.

It’s a bold statement but one I am going to make anyway: everything will grow in a container.

From mini bedding plants to giant redwoods - if the container suits the plant and you give it enough TLC then the plant will thrive. OK, the container may need to be the size of a bus but it’s still a container.

I don’t have enough sunny borders and well-drained soil to support my ever-growing collection of agapanthus. So, do I merely give up and admire other plants in other gardens? No, no, no. Container, big, well drained compost with plenty of grit, pop the plants in and hey presto! When placed in the sunniest part of the garden, the thing flowers. And thrives. And will for years. I need to water it in dry conditions, take the flower heads off to ensure all the plants energy goes into next year's growth as opposed to seed production and all is well. I might treat it to some fertiliser this year but the plants are happy. Delirious.

I’ve even grown snowdrops in pots, bluebells in containers and a lovely mini sunflower in a baked bean can (no added sugar of course). Trees can be housed in containers. Big, capable of holding a whopping specimen and not blowing over but they can be carefully placed, once, in a garden and left alone. Or, to take it to the other extreme, I have one word to say. Bonsai.

Even when your patio is crammed, there must still be room for some more plants. Vertical walls are fast becoming all the rage and green roofs on your shed, garage and other outbuildings are now commonplace. And so they should be. The power of plants should never be underestimated.

Growing plants in containers also gives you the chance of having a go at something that doesn’t naturally suit your garden soil. Camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas are wonderful plants but do need acidic conditions to thrive. Ericaceous compost in containers allows you to grow such plants when your soil is alkaline (if you don’t know the acidity of your soil get a simple soil test kit and check).

So, match the pot size to the plant, use the correct compost, water when needed and remember that the natural flow of nutrients occurring in a soil doesn't happen in a container. You may need to add a few tasty treats from time to time.

Other than that, there's no excuse to say no to a new plant. Ever. That's my theory and I’m sticking with it!