How to plant outdoor plants in new pots or planters

The basics of planting a plant in a container are – well – pretty basic and mostly effective:

1) remove the plant from its plastic pot
2) pop it in its new home
3) surround it with soil

But to get the very best from your plants try these little tips and tricks, from urban gardening expert Gay Search:

  1. Firstly, drench the plant(s) as thoroughly as possible. With the smaller ones you can can put them in a bucket of water and hold them down until air bubbles stop rising from the compost. Then allow it to drain while you get on with the below.
  2. Place a J-cloth in the bottom of the container over the drainage hole(s). This will allow excess water to drain out – essential for the wellbeing of the plant – but stop compost washing out with it.
  3. To aid good drainage, as well as saving compost – and weight – add a 10-15 cm layer of polystyrene ‘peanuts’ or broken-up polystyrene packaging.
  4. Add a layer of compost and mix in a scoop of water-retaining gel crystals – Patch sells MiracleGro Moisture Control – which stop the compost drying out too quickly between waterings. Follow the pack’s instructions.
  5. With the plant still in its plastic pot, put it into the container to check the depth. The surface of the compost in the pot should end up about 3cm below the top of the container to allow for easy watering in future. Adjust the level of the compost in the bottom of the container as necessary.
  6. When the level is right, place the plant still in its plastic pot in the container and fill in around it with compost to the correct level, mixing in more water-retaining gel crystals. Firm it as you go. This is ‘jellymoulding’.
  7. Take the plant and pot out of the container, squeeze the pot if necessary to loosen it and then holding the plant firmly around its base , slide the pot off the ‘rootball’ (the base of the plant). Then put the plant into the perfect-sized hole you’ve made in the compost and firm it in.
  8. With your finger, push in Miracle Gro Pot Shots – plugs of controlled release fertiliser, also available from Patch – into the compost. These will feed your plants for 6 months. It says on the pack how many you need for different sizes of container.

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