Extra large potted plants look incredible no matter where they are placed. They stand out, grabbing attention and offering a focal point. Both private and residential properties often incorporate large planters to spruce up décor. Plus, if you live in a very hot climate, the larger pot size helps keep the plants and soil cooler. The benefits to large planters are endless, but when it comes to maintenance and the initial planting process there are a few differences between small and large pots.
In order to produce a great looking container garden that thrives year after year, extra large potted plants require a unique set of knowledge. Here are 7 great tips to help you create and maintain successful extra large potted plants.
1. Don’t Fill The Bottom of Your Extra Large Potted Plants With Soil
If the plants in your large container garden do not have a extensive root system you don’t have to fill up the entire pot with soil. About 1/3 to 2/3 of the bottom portion can be filled with non-organic materials instead. This helps save money on soil as well as take away some of the weight associated with large planters. Large planters can get really heavy, and if you are placing them somewhere that weight is an issue, say for instance on a balcony or deck, this method is very useful. Also, when the time comes to move the planter you will be so glad the whole thing is not full of moist soil.
You can use everything from packing peanuts to empty soda bottles to fill up the lower portion of your planter. While rocks are commonly recommended to help with drainage, they are not recommended for large planters because they only increase weight. Add a screen, or some sort of landscape fabric over the top of the non-organic materials before filling the rest up with potting soil.
In some cases you will need to fill your entire planter with soil, such as with trees, because the root system needs the space to grow. Another reason trees require a full pot of soil is to help prevent them from tipping over once they grow and become top heavy. (See other things to watch out for with extra large potted plants)
2. Fill The Planters With Enough Flowers
Large planters lose some of their appeal when they are not properly loaded with plants. Plants that are too small for your planter will look lost and incomplete. According to container garden expert, Kerry Michaels, you should stick with “thriller, filler and spiller” plants, or a combination of all 3.
- A thriller plant is tall, dramatic and catches the eye.
- Filler plants take up space so you don’t see a bunch of soil when you look at your large planter.
- Spiller plants grow up and out over the sides of the container.
You don’t have to mix and match different kinds of flowers to make a large container look good, you can use all the same type plant as well. The goal is to keep the pot full, not necessarily diverse. One way to keep things safe and similar but still add a little flare is to plant the same type of foliage with slight variations, perhaps in color. For instance, if you have a wide-mouth planter a cluster of succulent plants can look incredible.
3. Add Enough Nutrients To The Soil Of Your Extra Large Potted Plants
Large planters present a unique challenge when trying to get adequate nutrients to your plants. Since the container is so large, you want to be sure that all parts of the soil are packing nutrients. Plant roots grow down in search of moisture and food, therefore the soil near the bottom of the pot needs to be nutritious. In order to ensure that the soil near the actual roots is as bountiful as the soil near the top, mix your fertilizer all throughout the container whenever you add new soil.
4. Prune The Branches On Your Extra Large Potted Plants
Removing any dead buds, leaves, or branches helps make room for new, lively foliage to bloom. Branches will start to grow out of control without any pruning; this can make your container garden look “spindly” as opposed to lush and beautiful. Even if the specific plants in your container garden don’t specify that they need to be pruned, almost all plants benefit from proper pruning.
5. Don’t Use Soil From Your Backyard With Extra Large Potted Plants
Even if the plants throughout your yard grow incredibly well, in part thanks to your naturally ripe soil, you still want to purchase potting soil for your container planters. Natural soil found in the ground is full of eggs, bacteria, bugs, and other tightly packed impurities. None of which properly drain when placed in a planter. Potting soil is made for your container garden, as it is lightweight, well aerated, and sterile.
6. Replace The Soil Slowly When Working With Extra Large Potted Plants
With smaller potted plants it is recommended that you change out the soil each year. This process can be tricky with small planters, and requires even more work with a large planter, but thankfully it is not necessary. Instead, each year you can simply remove the very top layer of soil and replace that with time-release fertilizer and new soil. You will then carefully mix this into the sides and down deep as you can without harming the delicate roots. (See 5 other tips when using extra large potted plants)
7. Finding The Right Planter For Extra Large Potted Plants
You get your large planter looking perfect and then, within only a few months or maybe one year, you notice a crack running the side of your pot. A ruined pot can be the end of your container garden. Cheap planters are prone to cracking and breaking down rather quickly, especially if the weather fluctuates between hot and cold where you live. You might have to spend a little more to get a truly quality planter, but it will last for so many years you’ll be glad that you did.
Thinking about adding a large container garden to your landscaping? TerraCast Planters offers the best selection of high quality planters in every shape, color and size.