Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Big pots are a versatile addition to a greenhouse

Greenhouses offer gardeners so many advantages. The very nature of them means that green-fingered enthusiasts and gardening professionals alike have so much more control over the conditions their plants are exposed to. This means that many different kinds of growth can even be nurtured at a time when they would usually be out of season, if that is what the person wants. 

However, some thought needs to be given to how certain plants are going to be grown within the greenhouse. Bedding is one option – but a lot of possibilities are offered by the inclusion of large pots. 

It can be a good idea to get them ready for spring right now, as this is the best season to take advantage of pots. Professional gardener and writer Helen Yemm recommended giving them a thorough wash before committing to planting anything in them. In an article for UK national newspaper the Daily Telegraph, she indicated that this means they will be ready for summer blooms. 

When it comes to what size of pot to choose, this is very much determined by the plant that the gardener intends to nurture in it. When asked what kind of flowers would be best suited to larger pots, Ms Yemm said: "My mind immediately envisaged a magnificent prostrate rosemary spilling out of this pot."

Rosemary is a woody perennial that is most commonly known for its fragrant and needle-like leaves. It can also be known by its Latin binomial name of Rosmarinus officinalis – and this comes from the 'ros' and 'marinus', meaning dew of the sea. The plant was so named because in certain climates it needs no water to live, as the humidity carried by the sea breeze is adequate to sustain it. 

This means that the plant is ideal for potting, as it can survive in a location that is raised from the ground on bricks. Ms Yemm noted that this frees the gardener from having to ensure there are plenty of crocks in the bottom of the pot – and more space will also be left for the roots of the shrub. 

Rosemary hates waterlogged roots, so this is all good," Ms Yemm remarked, adding: "However, instead of bricks, you could consider standing it on one of those wheeled wooden platforms such as you find for sale in many garden centres.

"This would make it easier to shunt the pot about as necessary (under the eaves of the house, for example, in exceptionally bad weather and into a really sunny place for the summer)," the expert continued. 

"While giving the rosemary the gritty soil and sharp drainage it needs, you would also do well to line the pot with plastic," Ms Yemm stated. This is because the terracotta of a pot can easily dry out in drier summer conditions, as it is a very porous material. 

Ms Yemm noted that one simple way of resolving this issue can be to adapt the bottom of a compost bag by cutting a hole in the bottom. However, it is desirable to avoid any unseemly black plastic poking out of the pot.