Well maintained potted plants add an extra dimension to an outdoor space. They are so versatile and one of the best tools a gardener has at their disposal to change the character and style of a garden quickly and relatively cheaply.

Strategically placed pots will change the view of a garden, hide unsightly sheds, and increase production of small spaces. As gardeners we have enormous expectations from our plants and often the growing conditions of potted plants have been far from ideal. There is an increasing trend to look beyond the architectural style of foliage plants and choose plants that are unique and create a statement, at the same time being waterwise and easy to look after.

The most common mistake gardeners do when attempting to grow plants in pots is selecting pots that are too small for the plant. Always plant into large pots, root systems stay cool and plants are not as stressed during the warmer months when watering is limited. Select clay pots over plastic pots as black plastic pots heat up very quickly; resulting in the death of fine feeder roots and die back of branches and leaves.

Choose a premium potting mix specially When potting up avoid blocking off drainage holes with rocks or broken pieces of pots, as encouraging as much drainage as possible is important. If the hole is large, place a single piece of newspaper over the hole. This will stay in place until the potting mix beds down and the roots have a chance to grow into the potting mix. Lift pots up off the ground with pot feet or a couple of paving bricks, being careful to avoid covering drainage holes. This also improves drainage and reduces the chance of ants finding the soil. Ants are very destructive in pots and can quickly excavate the soil around potted plants leaving the roots exposed to air and water not soaking in.

Place pots in sunny positions if the plants are sun lovers or they will become stretched, produce pale coloured flowers and be prone to insect attack.

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