Portable, potted plants are the ideal solution for gardeners who rent or have no soil. Here are some easy ways to grow and display your potted plants.
There are a number of ways to make your rental feel more like home by adding a little extra greenery to your decor. For outdoor displays, why not place decorative ceramic pots in spots where a permanent display will catch the eye. It’s also worth changing up your outdoor display plants each season. In winter, for example, plants which you kept in the shade during summer can be moved out into sunnier locations where they’ll benefit from the weaker sunshine.
TYPES OF POTS
Terracotta is an attractive, albeit slightly heavy material. The benefit with terracotta is that it’s porous, meaning moisture evaporates through the sides. This is a big plus if you’re growing plants that need good drainage. The weight of terracotta pots can be an advantage in exposed locations because they’re less likely to topple over.
Plastic is the most common material for potting plants. They’re lightweight, cheap and come in a variety of colours and sizes. Plastic pots will retain moisture longer than terracotta, which is a bonus if you have plants which need good moisture. When you buy plastic pots, check that they have functioning drainage holes. If you find yourself with empty pots, store them in the shade. They’ll last a lot longer!
Ceramic pots are almost as heavy as terracotta and typically come glazed. You’ll find that these are typically the most expensive type of pot. They retain moisture just like plastic and, if handled with some care, can be as durable as terracotta.
Not all potting mixes are created equal. When you’re hunting for a new bag, keep an eye out for the Australian Standard or NASAA Certified Organic logo. The price of potting mix varies across the board, so while some mixes might be cheaper, their quality will vary. Potting mix comes bark-based, with added gravel, sand and wetting agents – or in some cases, water-saving crystals. If you’re trying to grow plants with fussy needs, choose a potting mix that’s customised to their variety: i.e. mixes of cacti and succulents.
MAINTAINING YOUR POT PLANTS
Look out for fertilisers which are formulated for potted plants. Only apply the fertiliser when the plants are actively growing and nutrients will help. Where possible, avoid feeding during hot conditions.
Try to allow your plants to go slightly dry – but not wilting – between each drink. The easiest way to check on your plants is to use your finger or a moisture meter to check, or simply learn to judge from the pot’s weight. Saucers are a good way to prevent balcony and windowsill plants from dripping onto your neighbour in the below apartment, or spoiling your floor surface.
However, be mindful of how much you water your plants. Water can impede drainage, leading to growth problems as the roots are suffocated. Too much water and your plants could die of root rot. Try to empty your saucers after watering.
Repotting your plants is a great idea every year. Check out how quickly your plants have become rootbound and repot them into slightly larger containers before they become too congested. Some pots have a classic, straight-sided vase shape. This makes it easier to remove the intact rootball when you repot your plant.
THE BEST PLANTS FOR YOUR RENTAL
Generally, the most successful, long-lived potted plants are those with a compact or fibrous root system – here are a few to consider!
- English Ivy
- Jade plant
- Rubber tree
- Peace lily
- Snake plant
- Heart-leaf philodendron
- Fiddle-leaf fig
Which plants have you had most success with in the past? Share your tips and advice below!