Planting Tubs and Baskets

A beginner’s guide to planting tubs and baskets
Start by selecting a tub or basket to use.
There are many different ones on the market, made from different materials. First there
are solid baskets which can be treated much the same as tubs which will be explained
later. Then there are wire and wrought iron baskets that require a liner of some sort to stop
the compost falling out.
Choose your liner.
There is quite a range of different liners to choose from. Rigid liners are made from fibre
moulded to fit the basket but there is only a limited range and they only fit standard baskets. There are moulded coco fibre liners (again made to fit specific baskets by the manufacturer of the basket) and these are most suitable for wrought iron baskets that have wider spaces between the bars. Liners that can be cut to fit baskets made from coco fibre or wool are either sold by the metre or prepacked. Don’t forget sphagnum moss and the artificial alternative used to pack round the baskets before filling with compost.
Planting up baskets.
Starting with the compost, use either compost specific for tubs and baskets (which has a
water-retaining agent) or multipurpose compost and mix a water-retaining agent with it.
The water-retaining agent will reduce watering by at least half. Also mix in a slow release
fertilizer that will last all season, to both tubs and baskets. (This will save the need to
liquid feed on a weekly basis.)
Now place whatever liner you have chosen in the basket and put a pot saucer (the type
used to stand pot plants on) in the bottom as this will act as a water reservoir. You will not
need to use the saucer in solid baskets as most will have a built in reservoir.
If you are going to plant trailing plants such as Lobelia in the side of the basket you will
need to do this next. Do it as you fill the basket by putting some compost in the bottom
then making a hole in the liner then planting through from the outside. You can have
several layers of plants in the side.
Continue filling with compost but not right to the top otherwise you will over fill when you
put the plants in the top. When planting the top of a mixed basket or tub, the final layout
should, if viewed from the top, look like a target. Plant a tall plant such as a Fuchsia or
Geranium in the middle then slightly shorter plants like Marigolds followed by Alyssum and
bush Lobelia and finally plants to trail over the side. When you have mastered the basics
use your imagination and plant up something different.
Here is a list of some of the things seen planted up with bedding plants: Old wellingtons,
wheelbarrows, trailers, cooking pots and pans, tea pots, pottys and toilets, chicken
feeders, supermarket trolleys and baskets, small sailing dinghies and canoes and even an
old car. As you can see the only limit is your imagination.

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