One Pot, Three pots
One pot with three amazing potting plant options! As spring approaches, most gardeners get the urge to plant. Pots and containers are a rich and rewarding way to improve your planting skills and enrich the appearance of your garden. They are quick, simple and easy to put together using the correct plants and a little artistic flair. Here are three effective plant combinations, all put together in the same size terracotta pot. (The pot we used is 40 cm across and 35 cm deep.)
So that you can replicate these potting plant recipes at home, we’ve made sure that most of the plants are readily available, but if you can’t find these exact plants ask your friendly nursery or garden centre to assist you with suitable alternatives. All three options need to grow in full sun for optimum results.
This plant is planted with hardy foliage plants. Foliage plants generally look much the same for the entire year. Some gardeners feel that this is boring, and yet careful selection can ensure that the overall appearance is neat, tidy and colourful, as well as constant. Foliage plants like these can last for years if they’re well-tended and fertilised regularly.
Potting Plant 1
Cordyline Baueri ‘Electric Star’ is the focal point in the centre of the pot. The green, sword-shaped leaves with maroon stripes are colourful and dominating.
Carex ‘Frosted Curls’ has fine, silvery grey, grassy foliage that combines effectively with both conifers and similar grasses.
Carex Hachijoensis ‘Evergold’ forms a dense clump of prettily variegated, grass-like leaves with a soft texture. It is good for potting plant edges.
Carex Comans ‘Bronze’ appears brown and dead at first sight, but it lends further contrast to the combination, in terms of colour and texture.
Chamaecyparis Pisifera ‘Boulevard’ has beautiful blue-grey foliage that looks soft and furry, and an upright growth habit.
Phormium Tenax ‘Flamingo’ forms a clump of coloured, strappy foliage. This complements the cordyline, which has a similar outward appearance.
Carex ‘China Blue’ has slightly broader leaves of a rich blue-grey hue. It forms a clump of striking grassy foliage that is completely different in texture and colour to the rest of the plants.
Thuja Occidentalis ‘Rheingold’ is a charming little conifer with orange-yellow foliage and a mounding habit.
Juniperus Procumbens ‘Nana’ is a low-growing conifer with sharp needle leaves that cascades sedately over the edge of the pot.
Potting Plant 2
This is by far the most colourful of the three options. Flowering plants produce an abundance of blooms for a relatively short period. They invariably go off at the end of the spring or summer season, and the pot needs to be replanted frequently to keep it looking in tip-top condition. Regular deadheading and feeding are imperative to keep these mixed flower pots performing.
- Lobularia Maritima or Sweet Alyssum is unsurpassed for potting plant edging. The plants cascade neatly over the lip of the pot, producing tiny, sweetly scented flowers for months on end. White is the most popular colour though other shades are available.
- Pelargonium ‘Frank Headley’ has attractive cream and green variegated leaves that add a different dimension to the combination. Salmon flowers are borne in clusters atop slender spikes.
- Petunia ‘Storm’, or any similar range of seed-raised petunias, is ideal for plugging any gaps after the primary planting is complete. Like most petunias, it is available in a wide range of colours.
- Argyranthemum ‘Madeira Daisy’ is available in many different colours and shaped flowers. Here a redflowered form contrasts strongly with the salvia and lends height to the middle of the pot.
- Viola ‘Sorbet Hybrids’, with their tiny, pansy-like flowers, help to fill up the space around the edge of the container. Again, they come in a huge array of striking colours and bloom from winter all through spring.
- Bacopa ‘Betty White’ is a scandent groundcover with white flowers that tumbles over the edge of the pot.
- Gypsophila Muralis has fine foliage and tiny pink flowers. Like alyssum, this is a wonderful plant for the edge of the mixed container.
- Nemesia Foetens ‘Poetry is soft and gentle, with tiny snapdragon like flowers in blue, pink and white. They combine effectively with the larger blooms and the grey foliage of the dusty millers.
Senecio Cineraria, the silvery-grey foliaged dusty miller, always helps to show off colourful flowers by creating a stark contrast.
- Pelargonium Peltatum ‘Tacari Burgundy Stripe’ is one of many trailing geraniums that are all ideal for perimeter planting in these mixed combinations.
- Dianthus Barbatus, or sweet William hybrids, add colour and additional height to the middle of the plant groupings. They’re available in a wide colour range.
- Salvia Leucantha, the free-flowering Mexican sage, takes centre stage in this combination. Mauve bracts encase white tubular flowers for months on end.
Potting Plant 3
Succulents and other drought-tolerant plants are becoming an integral part of ornamental gardens as water becomes more scarce. They are easy to grow and can look highly decorative if used in the correct context, although they’re best on their own and not mixed with flowers and ordinary shrubs. In containers they certainly make a lasting impression, literally growing on year after year. Full sun and little water are central to their success.
- Sedum Nussbaumerianum grows easily and the waxy golden orange leaves look good all year round.
- Sedum ‘Athoum’ has a flat growth habit and is ideal for cascading over the edge of the pot. The flattened, brown-green leaves and yellow flowers work well in this pot.
- Pachyphytum is closely related to the echeverias and adds yet another dimension to the combination.
- Kalanchoe Pumila has grey leaves with a purple undertone and mauve flowers in late winter and spring, ensuring that it is always a hit.
- Echeveria Elegans, the common or garden rock rose, always looks splendid amongst other succulents. The rosettes of grey, fleshy leaves are perfectly symmetrical.
- Haworthia Attenuata is small with green and white striped leaves. It is good for filling potting plant gaps after primary planting is complete.
- Euphorbia Cooperi takes centre stage with its stout, arm-like branches on a thick trunk. The grey spines on the stems are quite prominent.
- Aloe ‘Quicksilver’ adds a different shape and texture to the pot, thanks to the speckled leaves and spikes of orange flowers, which illuminate the scene.
- Senecio Cylindricus has rounded leaves of a rich blue-grey colour that contrasts magnificently with all the other succulents.
- Sedum Rupestre ‘Angelina’ is also perfect for the edges of the pot. The yellow or chartreuse foliage is particularly eye-catching.
- Sedum Acre has tiny succulent leaves of a lime-green hue and is ideal for filling odd gaps where the soil is showing. Simply break off pieces from the clump and place them on top of the soil where they will continue to grow.