Window Boxes, Balcony Planters & Containers

Welcome to Gardeners Corner, our new blog for useful tips & tricks to get you started in your garden, from Groundskeeper Lewis Warwick. Whilst we don't all have the luxury of an outdoor space, it’s important to remember gardens can come in all shapes and sizes. For those of us that don't have a garden we can instead opt for a window box or if you have a balcony a small planter or tub. In this post I will share with you a few things that you can do with those options.

First of all, whatever you have chosen to grow your plants in, please make sure you have some drainage material in the balcony-2374933_1280bottom of the container. This could be broken terracotta pots, or a 1inch layer of pea shingle (stones). This will stop water from stagnating in the lower part of the container and potentially rotting the roots, just be sure not to overwater. It would be helpful to mix some plant feed in with the water too, Vitax for example.

Fill the container leaving about two inches spare at the top. When you plant, the soil displaced will fill this space, but it is always best not to have the soil right up to the lip of the pot or planter.

There are good selection of bedding plants that would be ideal for a container, examples include:

Suggested trailing and non-trailing plants
 Trailing Plants Non-trailing Plants
 Lobelia  Begonia
 Ivy  Geranium
 Petunias  Dahlia
 Geranium Ivy  Marigolds
 Busy Lizzie  Garden cosmos
 Million bells  Fuchsia
 Fan Flower  

You can pack as many of these as you can into your container, Fuchsias are fragile though so if you choose to have them in your container they would need a little space around them. You could choose to fill a container with just one specific plant, there is nothing to stop you from doing so, and it’s about personal preference at the end of the day.

Do make sure there is enough soil for the roots to grow into, two or three inches at least. Speaking of which, you can use just about any compost to fill the container. You can get ones specifically for containers, though I'd recommend against using peat based compost due to the environmental issues associated with digging up moorlands. When you are filling a large container be sure you are doing it in situ as it might be too heavy to move if not. As your flowers are blooming, be sure to dead head where necessary.

You can also choose to grow fruit and veg in a container, though you would need to regularly attend to the plants to stop it from growing out of control, there aren't really any restrictions as to what you can grow in a container (dependant on the size of the container itself) so you should feel confident in giving it a good go. If you do choose to plant beans, tomatoes or other climbers, you will probably need to make a small frame from canes or bamboo to support the fruiting plant. Containers are also a good place to grow herbs, adding a few pots to your windowsill will bring extra colour into your kitchen and add flavour to your meals!


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