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Here’s how to plant in a pot

With spring just around the corner you may want to spend some time fixing up your garden, getting your pot plants up to scratch should be a relatively easy task. However, you will be surprised at what you find in your pots; rubble, glass, plastic toys, screws, and wire are all objects that probably made their way into your pots during the course of the last season. In aid of pots and gardeners all around the country, here is a guide to planting your pots correctly just in time for spring.

Get startedPot gardening tools

Collect all the pots that you will be working with. This requires attention and keeping safety in mind. Be careful when lifting heavy pots, and remember to bend your knees when bending down. If you are unable to carry the pot comfortably ask for assistance or use a small trolley.

You will need:

  • A hand spade and shovel for moving larger amounts of soil and compost
  • The customary hat, gloves and sunscreen
  • Compost
  • Sifted top soil
  • A bag of 2:3:2 Talborne Organic fertiliser
  • A bag of 13mm and 15mm gravel aggregate, available from most major hardware stores
  • A watering can, or a soft adjustable nozzle that connects to your hose pipe
  • San paper, paint brushes, and a paint which will best colour your pot
  • The plants or seedlings of your choice
  • Weed Guard Material
  • And finally, you may need a wheel barrow to remove any rubble

When you have all materials and tools rounded up you are good to go. The first task is to remove all existing soil and rubble from the pot, it is best to tackle this job with your spade. Once all soil has been removed it is advisable that you give your pot a thorough cleaning with the hose pipe, once all dirt has been removed allow the pot to dry.

If you are planning to change the colour of the pot sand down the pot once it is dry. A damp cloth can then be used to wipe the residue away. Proceed by applying the undercoat and wait for it to dry. Once dried, apply your final coat in your chosen colour.

Top tip: Keep some paint as you will need to do a few touch ups after you have finalised the planting process.

Now we get to the inner part of the pot, ensure that your pot has drainage holes in the bottom. If your pot has no holes you may need to drill a few holes into the bottom. The holes help with drainage, if you don’t have holes in the bottom of your pot your pot will be unable to drain and eventually your plants will become water logged and will die.

Once you have established the drainage holes, cut a piece of the weed guard material the size of the bottom portion of the pot. Put the weed guard over the holes, using the large gravel aggregate to cover the weed guard to about 3-5cm depending on the size of the pot. Add a thin layer of the small aggregate.

The next step is to add sifted top soil. After the top soil, do a layer of compost and then add some fertilizer to the mixture.

Top tip: Use the sifted top soil and compost to help you achieve the correct level when planting out your plant in the pot.

Once the correct levels have been established you can place your plants and then fill the gaps in between the plants with compost.

What would the landscaper do?: I prefer this mix of soil, and usually avoid using potting soil as it dries out too quickly.

Now that you have planted out your plants, you can do the final touch ups with your paint, once the paint has dried you can give your plants and seedlings a gentle watering with the nozzle or watering can. Remember that plants in pots require more water than plants in your garden

Top tip:  Plants in pots require more water than plants in your garden. Put a reminder on your phone to remember to water your pots. If you have an irrigation system, ask your irrigation specialist to install a drip system to water your pots.

Plants which do really well in pots are: Azalea’s, Camelia’s, Lemon trees, Ficus trees, certain succulents and herbs, to name a few.

Happy early spring gardening!

Who is Nicholas Spargo?

Nicholas Spargo, owner of Spargo Landscape Consultants.

Nicholas Spargo, owner of Spargo Landscape Consultants.

Nicholas Spargo, owner of Spargo Landscape Consultants, has been in the landscape trade for 12 years as well as being a lecturer at the Lifestyle Garden Design Centre for the past year. He was awarded a Gold for a design at the Lifestyle Garden Design Centre Design Show in 2008, is an Invasive Species Consultant and is affiliated with the South African Green Industries Council.

Landscaping and education are very close to his heart.



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