Container Recipes by Alice Spenser-Higgs

Container Recipes by Alice Spenser-Higgs

Summer recipe for a colourful container

Do your have a featureless corner in garden or on your patio that needs to be perked up?

A quick and colourful solution is to plant up a container filled with colourful flowers and foliage. Not only will it fill a ‘dead’ space but it can be used as a focal point in a small garden.

Frost Cherry Petunia dichondra containerContainers are also a short cut to colourful, easy gardening for homeowners who have little time, or inclination to spend their precious leisure hours in the garden.

Instead of the hassle of preparing beds a few well placed containers are quick to plant up, easy to maintain and can be moved around to change the look of the outdoor space.

October is the ideal time to plant up a summer container and BallStraathof’s Eloise Maartens has devised these three recipes for containers:

Container for semi shade

Begonia, coleus, dich containerMain/anchor plant - Begonia Dragon Wings ‘Pink’

Colourful foliage: Coleus ‘Wizard’

Secondary foliage: Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’ and Iresine ‘Purple Lady’ to soften the edges and create a cascading effect.

Container for full sun

Main/anchor plant - Petunia Frost Cherry

Foliage plant: Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’.

Container for shade

Main/anchor plant: double impatiens Fiesta ‘Apple Blossom’

Foliage plants: Coleus Kong ‘Mosaic’ and trailing Plectranthus madagascariensis ‘variegata’.

Fiesta, Kong containerMethod

Select a container that will be large enough to accommodate all the plants when they mature. Move it into the correct position. This is easier when the container is still empty.

Use a reputable potting soil and mix in bone meal or superphosphate for root development. Make sure the growing medium is moist.

Start with the anchor plant and arrange the other foliage and flowers around it. Plant at each plant the same level as it was in its original pot. Water well afterwards to settle in the plants.


Regular, even daily watering is important but this doesn’t have to become a headache.

If it is not possible to water daily add water-retaining products like Terrasorb or Swell gel. When the pot is watered, these absorb the water and release it slowly so that you don’t have to water quite as frequently.

If you have more than one container, install a simple drip irrigation system with a single line and small pipes running from it into every pot. Makro also has a starter kit for container gardening with all the components.

Containers also need regular feeding because the nutrients get used up and are not replaced by natural means. Fertilise once a month with a granular fertiliser like Ludwig’s Vigorosa 5:1:5 or every second week with a liquid plant food like Margaret Roberts Organic Supercharger.

For more information phone the BallStraathof customer care line: 0861-blossom (or 0861-256776) or email .

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