Pot with Style
The Potter’s Saloon is Groovy Plants Ranch’s newest addition featuring a wide selection of containers and a potting bench complete with free potting soil to pot up your new plant purchases. Since the opening, we’ve been getting a ton of potting questions. Customers ask: What’s the right size? Can pots go indoors and out? How do I repot houseplants? And, what are some good container gardening combos?
So, whether you pot your plants at the Potter’s Saloon or at your home, we’ve tackled those questions here so you can pot your plants with confidence and style.
Selecting a Pot
Drainage: When choosing a pot, a bottom drainage hole is a top priority. We explain why drainage is so important in our No Fail Watering blog post. If you can’t find a pot with a bottom hole, a simple fix is to drill one with a glass-and-tile bit. Another fix is to keep your plant in its original plastic nursery pot and remove when it’s watering time.
Size: Next, look for a pot that is 2-6 inches larger than your plant’s current pot. This allows space for proper watering and room for the plant’s roots to grow. If you try to cram a plant in too small of a pot you risk underwatering since there’s not enough soil to hold water. On the other hand, if you go with too big of a pot, the soil will hold too much water and potentially drown your plants.
Material: Pots come in a variety of materials from clay and concrete to ceramic and plastic. The classic clay pots are more porous, so they drain quickly and often need watering more frequently. They’re ideal for cacti and succulents that are easily overwatered. Resin and plastic pots (including ones of recycled plastic) retain water and are often lighter weight. They’re a good option for moisture-loving plants, outdoor container arrangements or plant parents that tend to forget to water regularly. Ceramic pots offer a lot of style with their beautiful glazes. Like clay pots, they can dry out more quickly. Both clay pots and ceramic pots need to be brought indoors in winter to avoid cracking.
Whether you’re repotting newly purchased plants in the plastic nursery pots or repotting more mature plants that have outgrown their containers, we suggest starting with a quality potting mix. At the Potter’s Saloon, we offer our own house blend. You can create your own mix (check out Savvy Gardening’s six recipes) or purchase a bag of a quality potting mix. Realize some plants like orchids and succulents need a specialty potting mix.
To pot, start by adding a layer of potting soil in the bottom of the container. Gently remove the plant from its pot by placing a hand around the base, turning the pot upside down and catching the plant in your hand. If the plants’ roots are tightly bound, make a few cuts through them to allow them to expand into the soil of their new pot. Place the plant in the pot so the base is level with the top edge of the pot. Fill the sides with soil and water thoroughly.
Container Garden Design
Larger pots are ideal for container garden designs with a mix of annuals, perennials, tropicals, veggies and even small trees. At GPR, we love the go-to design formula – thriller, filler and spiller. Start with a thriller plant like canna lily or fountain grass in the middle. Fill in the sides with filler plants, typically smaller-flowering plants like lantanas and petunias or even colorful foliage plants like coleus. Finally, finish the design with spiller plants or trailing ones like sweet potato vine or white bacopa. Here are a few fun combos:
- Tropical punch: Combine ‘Red Sister’ cordyline with ‘Lucky Sunrise Rose’ lantana and pink verbena.
- Heavy metal: Embrace an all-silver design with ‘Angel Wings’ senecio, ‘Wave Silver’ petunias and ‘Silver Falls’ dichondra. This combo looks stunning in a dark container.
- Desert dazzler: Go solo with a large striking agave like ‘Americana’ agave or one of the newer mangaves. They look like a piece of sculpture when placed singly in a pedestaled urn.
- Shade stars: Rock the shade with a combo of purple elephant ears, canary wing begonias and creeping Jenny.
- Salad bowl: Plant a mix of leaf lettuces like ‘Red Sails,’ ‘Simpson’ and ‘Buttercrunch’ then intermix edible flowers like pansies and nasturtiums. For height, add an ‘Emerald Towers’ basil plant or ‘Tiny Tim’ cherry tomato plant.