Planting plant pots: the right way
Whether they are flowering, winter-hardy or fruit-bearing, potted plants are beautiful and liven up your home, garden, terrace and balcony. For your plants to flourish as best as they can, there are a few things to keep in mind. How big does the plant pot have to be? Which plants and shrubs work best? And how do you prevent waterlogging? With the right tricks, you can enjoy a wide range of wonderful plants with little effort. That’s why we’ll tell you everything you need to know about planting a plant pot.
When is the right time to move your plants to the terrace or garden and when should you replant pots?
It’s simple: If you want to prevent potted plants from being damaged by the cold, you should wait until after the ‘Ice Saints’ visit before planting your plant pots. They visit between 11 and 15 May and during the night, they often bring frost with them that can be damaging to flowers, palms and so on. That’s why a good time to plant or replant flowers in pots is at the end of May. To prevent frost damage in general, make sure during the cold season that you only water plants when there is no frost. It’s also important to protect potted plants in winter from bright light and wind. You can read about everything else you need to do to keep your plants healthy in the winter in our guide.
You also need to be careful when fertilizing. The ideal time for fertilizing is between April and August. If you fertilize after late summer, you risk damaging the plants’ tissue and increase their risk of freezing during the winter.
How big should the plant pot be?
While you can choose the colours and material to fit your tastes, the size of the plant pot plays an important role. As a rule, large potted plants, such as fan palms, also have larger roots than smaller ones, such as herbs or lavender. This means they need more space for their roots. Pots that are too small can hinder the growth of the plant. If the pot is too large, the plant will quickly start to look out of place. A good rule of thumb is that a plant pot should be at least three centimetres wider than the plastic pot that the plant came in at the store. More space in the root area encourages growth and prevents the soil from drying out too quickly.
Apart from the size, the shape is also important. A pot that is too wide will cause waterlogging for the roots. This can also lead to problems when repotting, specifically if the roots have spread to the wider part of the pot. That’s why you should make sure to select for the right pot in advance or ask for advice in your specialist shop. After all, you should buy plant pots for the long term. Only then will you be able to enjoy your palm tree, perennial or flower for a long time and without having to spend time repotting them.
Which plants also reveal their full beauty in pots?
There is an enormous selection of plants that are right at home in plant pots. Even roses can be planted in flowerpots and still blossom to their full potential. We recommend you opt for plants that are resilient. Here are a few examples of classic potted plants from different categories to get you inspired:
Large potted plants without flowers: Cypress, laurel and umbrella bamboo
Flowering plants: Hydrangeas, daisies and oleander
Herbs: Thyme, rosemary and sage
Fruit plants: Cordon fruit, olive trees, blueberries, real almond trees and figs
Perennials: Oleander, firecracker plants, hibiscus and geranium
Palms tress: Areca palm, cordyline, European fan palm, Chinese windmill palm and yucca
Would you like to plant your own olive tree? Find out how here. And at the end of this guide, we’ll show you the best way to arrange the different plants.
Preventing waterlogging: the perfect drainage system
Once you’ve selected your plant and plant pot, you can get started planting the way you want to. The drainage system plays an important role here. It consists of the water being drained to the bottom of the pot and the drainage layer in the pot, which prevents the plant from resting in water that has accumulated.
The most important part is that there is a hole in the bottom of the pot, which allows excess water to be drained at any point. Otherwise, too much moisture in the plant can cause the roots to rot. There is also a risk of the pot breaking during the winter due to the expansion of frozen water.
If the pot does not already have the necessary hole, you can easily make one yourself using a cordless drill. We recommend using a 10 mm drill bit. For fibreglass and concrete, use a masonry drill bit. For zinc, stainless steel and weathering steel, a metal drill bit is best. If you’re using a large pot, it’s a good idea to drill multiple holes in the bottom of it, so that the water can drain more easily.
For the perfect drainage system, cover the drainage hole or holes with one to three crocks. Then fill the pot with a three to five centimetre high drainage layer. Expanded clay balls, gravel and pumice are good materials for this job. This layer serves as a reservoir and prevents waterlogging. We recommend you place a piece of fleece on top. This fabric acts as a layer of separation between the soil and prevents the soil from being washed away into the drainage system when watering the plant. The material also protects against small critters, such as ants, woodlice and so on.
Once you have prepared the drainage system, you can put the soil in the pot.
What is the ideal soil to use when planting plant pots?
Normally, potted plants remain in their pots for at least two to three years. That’s why the soil has to be good quality and structurally stable. Plants in a pot will only flourish properly if their roots receive a constant and sufficient supply of air and minerals. Special soil for potted plants contains mineral elements, such as sand, expanded clay or lava. These minerals ensure that excess water can be drained to the bottom and does not build up at the roots. The soil usually comes pre-fertilized. Because the plants use up the minerals in the soil over time, you should refertilize it approximately every four to six weeks.
When selecting the soil, it is important to make sure not to use garden soil because it will often contain bacteria, mould or even pests. Also, the clay or loam in the soil will sink to the bottom of the pot over time and clog the drainage holes.
Are you looking to spruce up those grey and empty areas on your terrace or in your garden? And do you love a little change? Then potted plants are perfect you because you can change them around whenever you want.
What else is there to watch out for? Colourfully planted plant pots provide your garden or home with colour and make for a wonderful atmosphere. It’ll be especially pretty when the plants all blossom at the same time. They should also have the same requirements in terms of light, air and water. Have you already tried planting plants with different heights together in the same pot? Combining smaller and larger plants in a stylish fashion makes for a real head-turner.
And finally, here are a few visual tips and suggestions: Smaller and medium-sized plants look really elegant in tall, thin plant pots. While rectangular containers tend to look austere, round pots create a pleasant atmosphere. They look particularly good on stairs. But plant pots also make great decorations at the entrance to your garden or next to the door to your garden house. Decorated gates and doors provide your living and garden areas with atmosphere. And have you already thought about using potted plants for lining a path? Hedge plants, ornamental grasses and even low plants are great for separating garden areas from each other or for creating a bit of privacy from your neighbours.
Let your creativity run wild by using different shaped plant pots with colourful plants as creative and diverse decorations in your garden, on your balcony or in your home.