Potted Gardens How to look after plants in pots 

Caring for a potted garden, some essential tips


Potted Gardens - Essential Tips For Potted Plants

I love potted gardens. I love nothing more than collecting a mix of different sized pots and grouping them all together. I always use the same coloured pots as I find this makes more of an impact.

I have pots on patios and out in my garden. A statement pot looks fantastic amongst the lush green backdrop of a planted out garden.

I use pots for my herbs and fruit trees as well as ornamentals.

Not many people are fans of pots and even I used to struggle with looking after of potted plants.

Over the years I have found a few simple tips that has greatly improved my potted garden.


Potting Mix

Firstly you should always buy potting mix for pots not garden soil, that’s for gardens. A quality potting mix provides the best growing medium for container plants. Quality potting mixes, unlike soil, always maintain a good balance between holding moisture and draining well. This means that plant roots can obtain sufficient water without drowning. You should also make sure the potting mixes carries the Australian Standards Mark set of ticks. This shows that they have passed a series of stringent tests. There are two standards for quality potting mixes: Regular (black ‘ticks’) and Premium (red ‘ticks’). I always use the Premium potting mix.potted gardens essential tips on how to keep potted plants

I have found there is also a difference with the premium mixes. In my experience the more expensive the potting mix the better it is. The best of the best potting mixes formulated to ensure a mixture with excellent water holding capacity, ideal aeration and drainage properties plus essential nutrients and minerals for strong long term healthy growth. They are a worthwhile investment. I would rather spend most of my budget on potting mix than plants. I find that if I give my plants the best possible start in life they are more likely to flourish with little input from me. I use the Searles Peat 80 for everything in pots, whether it's roses, vegetables, azaleas or flowering annuals.



Plants in pots do need a little bit more care and attention than plants in the ground. I was once explained to look at fertilising like this ‘A slow release fertiliser is like getting a facial every month and a liquid fertilise is like washing your face every night. If done separately you look good but done together you look bloomin’ fantastic!’

I try to give my pots a fertilize with complete organic slow­release fertiliser (I use Organic Link because I can use it on every plant) every two to three  months and a Liquid fertilize with a complete organic liquid fertiliser (I use Triple Boost) every fortnight.

I am sometimes a bit forgetful with the liquid fertilising but I have realised that if I want my potted plants to stand out and look really amazing, once a fortnight is best.



I find mulching potted plants is vitally important and something most of us forget. We all mulch our gardens because we know Mulch stops the top of the soil drying out, keeps the soil moist, and can reduce watering by about 60 per cent and prevents weeds and weed seed germination, which compete with plants for moisture and nutrients.

Mulches can either be organic (sugarcane, bark) or inorganic (stones). I prefer organic mulches because they break down and add organic matter to the soil. This improves soil structure and drainage, and encourages earthworm and soil microbial activity.


Size of Pot

with pots the bigger the better isn’t correct in all instances. Sometimes if we put a very small plant into a very big pot in the hopes it will grow big we tend to over care or under care for it. Or we put a plant into a small pot thinking we can trim it and keep it small.

Always ask for advice at your local garden centre what pot size they recommend. You don’t have to go one pot of one plant either. I love mixing pots up and using large pots and planting multiple different types of plants into one pot. Or having say a fruit tree in a pot and under planting it with some herbs.

Pots are a great way to display ornaments too. I have a lovely broken pig that I put in a pot and surrounded it with plants and it looks lovely.



Many of my pots contain flowering plants that don’t really seem to stop flowering so I tend to trim when they look a bit ratty ­ this is usually about once every two months. With my more shrubs like potted plants I only usually trim about once a year.

Every twelve to 18 months I try to give my potted plants a soil wetter. Soil Wetters enable water to penetrate the soil and help nutrients get to the roots a lot easier. There are liquid and granular ones on the market both are great. searles have a product called recharge which does exactly that recharges old pots. It contains soil wetter and fertiliser.


That’s it. Go forth and create your potted garden.

Remember nearly any plant can grow in the right size pot and look good.


Trevallan Garden Lifestyle Centre

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0 # ann 2015-03-02 22:36
these are great tips. i didnt know which fertilizer to use now i know - both
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