Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Containers For Plants - Think Outside the Square

Adding plants to your patio can really add a lot of atmosphere to what otherwise might be a mundane area.  The easiest and most popular way of adding greenery and flowers is to plant them in containers and place them around the patio.

Most of the pots you see nowadays are pretty standard.  What other alternatives are there to these nursery bought containers that just about everybody else uses?  With a little bit of imagination there are lots of common items from around your home that could be used.

Believe it or not you can recycle old shoes and boots as plant pots.  These are suitable for short term planting and are ideal for planting annuals that are more seasonal.  Make little groupings of these and they will become a real talking point and look good.  When the plants die off, simply discard them, shoe and all.

Cane baskets can look very sophisticated with a nice plant growing in it.  It is advisable to plant into a pot slightly smaller and lower than the cane basket and then put that pot into the basket.  These are best put under cover but some water will not affect them too much.  If you cover the soil of the internal pot with moss or coconut fiber to hide it, no one will know that it's there.

Old wheelbarrows make fantastic planters.  Make sure you drill some holes for drainage before you plant into them.  A quick coat of paint to the inside of the wheelbarrow will slow down the formation of rust.  The beauty of these is that they are easily moved around.  With some flowering annuals or perennials, wheelbarrows can add a bright rustic look to any area.

Wooden wine barrels can be a dramatic addition to your container garden.  Naturally these are not readily found around the home but they can be purchased from many nurseries or hardware stores at quite reasonable prices.  Make sure they have at least 4 drainage holes in the base.  It is a good idea to seal the inside but not absolutely necessary.  Raise them off the ground a few centimetres to allow drainage water to get away.  Because of their size, wine barrels can be used for quite large plants.  Palms look great in these.  Around the trunk of the palm you could also plant some bright annuals or perennials to add some color.  A tip - place the wine barrels at their intended site before planting as they can be very heavy when full of soil.

Hanging baskets can be spectacular additions to any patio.  These are readily available at plant nurseries and come in many sizes.  Planted with colourful plants like fuchsias or annuals or with trailing or climbing plants they can become real talking points.  Wire hanging baskets lined with coconut fiber or bark can look very natural but if you want something bright and cheerful there are many varieties of plastic hanging baskets available.

If you have a bare wall you would like to brighten up, why not use wall containers.  These come in wire, to be lined with coconut fiber or paperbark, plastic, ceramic and terracotta.  They usually have a flat back so they can sit flush against the wall.  They look like half a pot.  Planted with trailing plants at about eye level they can look very spectacular.  Avoid fixing them much higher than eye level as any higher they become difficult to water.

If you are regular visitor to garage or boot sales then you will find a lot of unusual items that can be used as plant pots.  Just let your imagination run wild.


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