Fun with pots in your garden


By Karen Viljoen

Have you ever wondered where the idea of ​​potted plants came from? The origin of potted plants comes from the 17th century when people in Egypt, Greece and Rome planted plants in clay pots. It was then mostly only indoor plants, which were also easier to transport from one place to another. Clay pots were used for that, and we can still buy beautiful clay pots today to make a pot garden.

The advantages of clay pots, apart from creating a beautiful focal point in your garden, are the porous material that allows air and moisture to reach the plants’ roots. These types of pots also keep the soil temperature constant, and the terracotta color also complements the green of plants nicely. It goes without saying that it is also a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic pots.

Here are some tips that can help grow successful potted plants:

  • Choose the right pot for the purpose. Look at size, material, handling, quality and placement in the garden.
  • Potting mix: Mix potting soil and compost in equal parts, and add bone meal and fertilizer. There are also products available to ensure that the soil moisture in the pot is better retained. Peat soil, vermiculite and perlite as well as water-holding gel can help with this.
  • Good drainage: Add a layer of pebbles to the bottom of the pot, and cover it with a membrane (such as Weed Guard or Bidum) which will prevent soil from clogging the pot’s drainage holes. Then pour the soil mixture on top.
  • Water requirements: This will depend on what kind of plant you want to plant in the pot. Remember that you have to water your potted plants more often as the space in a pot is limited and the plant roots cannot go outside the pot to look for water. So soak all the soil in the pot properly.
  • Mulch: Place a mulch of tree bark on top of the soil in the pot to keep more moisture inside.
  • Plant selection: Choose a plant that will look right in relation to the pot selection. A pot that is tall should rather have a shorter plant with volume. Hardy plants also do better than tropical plants with high water needs. To soften the edge of the pot, you can use a ground cover that will depend as it grows.
  • Root growth: A plant cannot be kept in the same size pot for years. The roots will later take up the entire pot and then stagnate. Should this happen, you will have to plant the plant in a larger pot.
  • Nutrition: Because plant roots in the pot cannot search for nutrients either, it is important to feed your potted plants regularly. Especially also if it is a flowering plant that needs specific nutrition.

Pots can be used in the garden to create focal points. Larger and more pots that look the same will work well for this.

The plants in your home will also look cheerful if you put them in interesting pots.

A fountain made of pots is an easier way to create a water element. Choose pots that will last a long time and are also strong enough to handle the pressure of the water.

If you are a keen grower, the various types of plastic pots can be of great help. Plant or sow your favorite herbs or vegetables in plastic pots before transplanting them into the vegetable garden. It is also useful for making cuttings.

A big advantage of potted plants is that they can be placed in areas where there is no soil to make a garden, for example balconies, porches or paving, and where it will immediately make an impact to soften areas.

Enjoy the possibilities that pots can bring in your garden and home and take a chance. Keep in mind that we as humans are God’s fragile vessels. Paul uses the image of a pot: We who have this treasure within us are but clay pots that break easily. So our strength comes from God and not from ourselves. We are cracked pots that need the power of God every day.

Pots in the garden can be used for practical purposes as well as beautifying your garden. Use pots to make your garden even more beautiful and bring you closer to nature.

  • Karen Viljoen is a landscape architect.