Pot power

OFTEN referred to as garden accessories, cleverly placed pots, baskets and containers make a statement, just as a necklace or belt does when added to an outfit.

Generally, most plants can adapt to life in a container providing they have enough room for their root zone, plenty of fertiliser, water and the required sun or shade. Be aware that containers restrict the root growth of plants and this affects how tall or wide a plant can grow. Not only the leaves and flowers need room to grow but also the roots. Roots are the engine room of the plant and given care and attention, will reward you with colour, vibrancy, texture or fragrance.

Ten of the best to grow in containers are  –


1. Buxus: If you are after a hardy, evergreen plant that will thrive in sun, shade  and cold temperatures, sporting a classic short-back-and-sides haircut or  shape, this plant is a reliable campaigner. It is very happy for long periods in  pots and containers as long as there is sufficient root room, fertile soil and a  decent watering every few weeks.


2. Foliage plus: For all-year-round colour and interest, plant a combination  of Heuchera ‘Lime Marmalade’ and H. ‘Plum Royale’, Tiarella ‘Oregon Trail’  or T. ‘Happy Trails’, plus some vertical accent plants like mondo or carex, or  other plants that will tolerate a sunny spot. Alternatively, H. ‘Marmalade’ is a  colourful option, seen here teamed with a terracotta planter placed in front of  an English beech hedge.

Delta pansies

3. Pansy power: Bred for their durability and immense flowering capacity, the  Delta pansies are tough to beat for flowering performance through autumn,  winter and spring. Plant in blocks of one colour per container or go all out and  mix them all up. Deltas flower equally as well in full sun or shade and are a  perfect option for baskets and planters.


4. Cycads: For a touch of the tropics with a slightly Jurassic look, cycads are  statuesque planting options. The dramatic form and foliage of these ancient  plants provides all-year-round interest. Sadly, these are not an option for areas  that have long periods of frost, unless moved indoors.


5. Muehlenbeckia: These wiry looking New Zealand natives are so robust they  are durable to extremes of hot and cold. They will survive in tubs and barrels  where little else will thrive. A regular trimming with the hedging shears will  maintain a certain shape. Other natives worth a try are astelia, cordyline and  libertia.


6. Succulents: Used in the right way, succulents create masterpieces,  particularly in low-profile bowls and barrels. Once established, most succulents  will survive long periods without watering if need be, although they always  look a lot fresher when watered every week or two.


7. Fuchsias: Although it’s getting near the end of the fuchsia season, there are  still plenty of fuchsias around. These matriarchs are blooming marvellous –  each season, it seems like they will flower themselves to death. Once they start  blooming, they are rarely without flowers if the soil is kept moist. Fuchsias are  a bright and colourful option for sun and shade and for baskets, too.

Bourgainvillea dwarf

8. Bougainvilleas: Whether you choose to plant bougainvilleas in pots, tubs,  barrels or baskets, as long as they are in a sunny area you will be rewarded with  tufts of papery like flowers throughout the season. New dwarf cultivars are  ideal for windowboxes and smaller pots whereas stalwarts like ‘Scarlet O’Hara’  or ‘Magnifica Traillii’ are the best options where a tall social climber is called  for.


9. Vibrant veges: Try something a little different by planting autumn and  winter crops in pots and containers this season. Red cabbage, curly kale,  rainbow silverbeet and all sorts of herbs, such as the blue-flowering rosemary,  not only complement a patio or entrance way but also provide some welcome  seasonal greens.


10. Geraniums: Despite the most unfortunate-smelling foliage, these  flowering powerhouses are unlikely to turn up their toes in a tub or pot in a  sheltered, sunny position. If you can cope with the funny aroma of the foliage,  then you will be rewarded with hundreds of flowers almost year-round.