There are just three things to get right when you’re planting and caring for window boxes and containers.
You need to give your plants enough water but not too much.
If you have one of our standard outdoor planters then you’ll be pleased to know that they come with plenty of drainage holes. This means that you can water your plants as often as you like without doing them harm. The compost will absorb what it needs and the excess will drain out.
Do water these containers as often as you remember. One of the main reasons for the death of potted plants is soil that’s dusty and dry throughout the planter.
Even if it rains, containers still need watering! If you’ve got lots of lovely leafy plants in your planter barely any raindrops will get past them to the soil. Your neighbours will think you’re nuts for watering pots while it rains, but smile smugly and carry on because you know better.
If you have one of our indoor planters then you’ll need to use a little more judgement, because there is no drainage out of the bottom and you don’t want your plants to drown. You can either water when your soil looks a little dry to the first couple of centimetres of soil, or you can remove all the guesswork by using an irrigation tank in the bottom. This, by the way, is also an excellent way of not having to constantly water planters with drainage holes either. You fill up your tank and then the water gets gradually used up by the plants as required. In some cases you’ll only have to water every 5 or 6 weeks! We can add irrigation tanks to your order if you wish
When you’re choosing your plants, make sure that you choose ones which will do best in the conditions you’ve got.
As long as you’ve got a decent amount of light then most things will work anywhere, at least for a season. This said, look out for extremes of dark and light.
On a north facing wall, windowsill or doorstep, lavender will always be a lanky disappointment, whereas ferns will look gorgeous. Conversely if you have a spot that’s always in the baking sun then avoid the plants with fine pale green leaves as they tend to go crispy. Instead go for anything with silvery leaves that you’ve seen thriving in the Mediterranean.
The soil in pots cannot be improved by natural sources the way it is in the ground. This makes nutrients very important for the success of your plants.
We always use a potting compost grade which is appropriate to the size of the plant. As a general rule we also use brands which contain a certain amount of nutrients at the outset. However if you’re growing seasonal flowers, especially the traditional ones such as geraniums (actually technically pelargoniums) then go wild with plant food. Any brand will do and read the instructions for quantity and use it. The ‘with’ and ‘without’ pictures that they show in their advertising are absolutely accurate; using fertiliser makes a huge difference. A purist might say you’re cheating but that just means they’re jealous of your beautiful flowers.
When to hold off on the fertiliser? Evergreen plants like Buxus don’t put on loads of growth in a season, so do use some fertiliser from time to time but not anywhere near as much. And lavender gets leggy with too much fertiliser, as does anything else which is described as liking ‘poor soil’.
I really hope that you’ve found this guide useful, but I love to dish out gardening advice, so if there’s more you’d like to know or you’ve got a specific question, do just drop me an email to email@example.com or via the form on our contact page.