Your patio is screaming out for COLOUR, we know the feeling, but where do you start?! If you haven’t yet nailed container gardening, that’s okay, I’ve written an easy to follow seven step guide below to take you through everything you need to get your patio garden started.
Choose your plants
Almost anything can be grown in a container – even certain trees – but what you choose to plant in your patio containers should reflect your type of garden. Ask yourself: does my garden get plenty of sun? Is my garden sheltered from the wind? Does it rain a lot in my area? All of these questions should affect your choice of patio plants. Once you’ve determined your garden type, take a look at my Plant Guide here to discover some of the plants that could work well for you.
You can even put more than one plant into a container if it’s large enough! This is called a ‘mixed container’. Styles of mixed container planting include lasagne planting and barakura. These are slightly advanced techniques, but they do give you the freedom to explore your creativity!
Choose your container
Your container choice is one of the most important parts of patio planting – and I’m not just talking about the colour!
First, let’s talk size. One thing you must remember is that a larger pot will likely need less watering. This is because there is more soil to soak up and retain the water. Smaller pots with dry out faster – in the hot summer months, you may have to water daily or even twice daily to make sure that your plant is receiving enough water. Reduce all that with a simple wetting agent – buy it here.
Material is also important. Different container materials have different advantages and disadvantages. Clay or terracotta pots look lovely and rustic, but they dry out very easily in the summer. They can also shatter if blown over in a strong wind and can crack after a frost. Concrete is very strong, but most types are quite heavy to move. Plastic containers are inexpensive and lightweight, but look for good quality for longer lasting joy.
Drainage holes are essential. Without them, your plants may get waterlogged and die. If your pots don’t have drainage holes, you can try drilling some yourself. Alternatively, if you really want to use a particular pot, you could get a smaller container with holes to fit inside it, or add a strong layer of gravel. Drainage is key!
Seven steps to patio plant success
1. Fill your container with a good multipurpose compost to within an inch of the pot rim (why not add a bag of fertiliser as you plant up? You can find just the ticket here) Once you’re full, push the compost down gently to firm it in.
2. Dig into the soil (with your hands!!) and make a hole large enough to place your potted plant into.
3. Slip your plant out of its pot (you might need to massage the outside of the pot to help it along!) and plant into the hole, firming in with your hands, using extra soil if you need to.
4. Next, water the plants gently, just moistening the compost. Place your container somewhere sheltered and water every few days, more often if it’s warm.
5. As your plants develop, move your container into its final position, checking there’s no chance of frost. Pinch out the growing tips of your young plants a couple of times, this will encourage more stems and flowers.
6. Feed your plants every few weeks, we would recommend Richard Jackson’s Flower Power & Container Magic. As any flowers die, you might choose to cut them off with scissors. This will tidy up the plants, but also encourages more blooms.
7. At the end of the season, it’ll be time to discard your plants and replant with some winter blooming lovelies (see here for a recommendation!)
Make container planting a breeze
What if you had a patio plant collection that was ready to go?! These fantastic Garden Ready Plant Collections from Plants2Garden at QVC are great for any level of gardening skill. With each collection, you’ll receive a fabulous selection of plants, plus an attractive pebble-texture container.
Choose from two collections: the first is a fiery display of Argyranthemum Grandaisy Ruby, Surfinia Deep Red, Calibrachoa Calita Sunrise, Nemesia Lyric Yellow and Bidens Hawaiian Flare Yellow Red Star.
The second is a relaxing pink and purple display of Argyranthemum Pink Tourmaline, Surfinia Double Blue Star, Calibrachoa Calita Pink Star, Nemesia Sunpeddle Cranberry Eye and Scaevola Abanico Purple.
All of these varieties have been selected for their charming appearance as well as excellent garden performance, long flowering time and ease of care. They’re all suitable for British weather, so wherever you are, you’re sure to get a sensational display of summer plants! What’s even better, each mix is specially formulated to grow equally… no more lopsided pots!
Shop these collections here.
This patio plant kit is offered by Plants2Gardens, a key brand here at QVC. They specialise in mature plants that give continued enjoyment, and often offer varieties with interesting stories and that you can’t find elsewhere! The team have over 40 years expertise in sourcing Europe’s highest quality plants, shrubs and flowers, and their attention to detail and customer experience is particularly notable.
Which collection is your favourite? Let me know in the comments section below!
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook – and writes a plant-focused Substack called Grow This, Not That.