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Taking the bare look off entranceways, patios, and decks

Photo credit: STUFF

Succulents in pots on a sunny verandah

Dress up those bare patches with containers

by STEPHEN MCCARTHY

Container grown plants are an ideal way of taking the bare look off entranceways, patios, and decks, and providing a link from the garden to the house.

Sometimes container gardening is the only way you can grow plants when you live in a high-rise flat or apartment where you do not actually own any land.

When you are renting you can take container plants with you when shifting with the minimum of effort.

Almost any container of permanent materials can be used to in which grow plants.

Unusual things such as drainpipes, old boots, and wheelbarrows, as well as the more traditional terracotta, glazed plant pots and wooden tubs suit a wide range of plants.

One thing which must be considered when growing plants in any container is drainage. Unless adequate drainage is provided the soil quickly becomes sour and waterlogged, conditions in which most plants quickly die.

There must be a hole or series of holes in the base of the plant container to allow excess water to escape. Most materials can easily have a hole made in them.

Wood, terracotta and even metal present not much of a problem, but materials such as stoneware, porcelain and glass are more difficult to drill through without shattering the vessel.

It is necessary to place some pieces of broken terracotta pot or largish sized gravel in the bottom of the plant container to assist drainage. The soil mix itself can be bought from plant nurseries or you can make your own, the chief attribute should be that of being well-drained.

This is achieved by the addition of bark compost, coarse sand or fine gravel, pumice or vermiculite, all of which open up the soil structure to allow air throughout the mix.

 

Read the full article: STUFF

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.