We've changed the name of this board from 'Greenfingered MoneySaving' to simply 'Gardening'. This is to help make it easier to find for the horticulturally inclined. The URL remains unchanged for the time being, so all links to the board are unaffected.

Please help - pots & total beginner!

I have a number of plant pots around the garden which my MIL used to plant up for me. Every year I had a gorgeous assortment of colourful plants (no idea what!). (I still get dafodils in the spring)

For the last couple of years these pots haven't been touched and I know it's something that I need to tackle - I just hope I haven't left it too late for this year.

The thing is, I have absolutely no idea where to start. There is now an assortment of grass, weeds and thistles in each. Do I empty all the compost out and start again, or do I just weed?

If I went to a nursery what plants would be idea for pots? I would have no idea what to look for and would want something that was relatively easy to grow. Do I buy plants and put directly into the pots, or do I buy seeds and start them off indoors first? I'm really sorry as I'm sure these are incredibly basic questions but totally alien to me.

Also, last year I successfully grew my first lot of veg, mainly in growbags which I will do again this year. I also had some potaotes in a reuseable bag which is still full of compost in the garden. Can I plant more potatoes directly in to this, or do I need to empty the existing compost first?

Any advice for a total novice would be much appreciated!



  • dbt3mummy
    dbt3mummy Posts: 199 Forumite

    Didn't want to read and run - I might not have much "good" advice as I just make it up as I go along but it doesn't seem an issue for me.

    If you want pots to be just for colourful plants then I would replace the compost this time and then give it a good feed every now and then. Most plant labels will tell you if the plant is suitable for a container or not. I literally go to a garden centre/nursery and buy things that I like to look at - as at the end of the day they are for your enjoyment.
    I've recently redone 3 tubs - one being massive so I've stuck in a standard lavender tree and then planted a mixtures of trailing and bush lobelia to give ground colour. Lobelia will die off at the end of the year and need replacing with some sort of winter bedding but the lavendar will contuine providing the wind doesn't break the stem or a someone pinches lol
    I like to have height in my pots and then surround with something smaller.

    So if I was just going to buy a load of summer bedding I would use a geranium or fuschia as my centre piece then plant round with surfina, pansy, lobelia etc.

    The only things I grow from seed is my fruit and veg. I have tried some geranium this year but I don't think they would be ready until next year!!! On the geranium front if you do get any try to bring them in as winter approaches, keep warm, moist and near a window sill for sunlight and hopefully they will do you another season!
    My MIL and I both had geraniums we'd kept going for a good few years out in our greenhouses but that extreme snow got the better of them.

    With regards to the potatoes I'm not too sure. I tried those growing bags but just wasn't keen. I'm not sure if you could feed the compost and then re-use it or need to replace it totally.

    Sorry if I rambled and I hope it's of some help!
    Cabot (0%) left to pay £2455 let the overpayments commence! :D
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 33,018 Forumite
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    I have a lot of pots in my backyard - you're probably a bit late to start from seed this year, and you also need to consider slug activity - a lot of the plants I grow are reasonably slug proof, although the copper tape around the pots can help.
    You might also want to think about mixing the water retaining crystals in with the compost, as otherwise if it's really hot you're watering daily (or twice daily.)
    I like the taller snapdragons (antirhinums) in pots at the back for a bit of height. I use lots of busy lizzies although they need more watering. Some people prefer pansies but mine don't do so well in summer for some reason. I don't like lobelia or begonia but that's personal preference so you might want to look and see what catches your eye. The odd osteospermum (cape daisy), geraniums and fuschias - a mixture of upright and trailing depending on how tall the container is that I'm using, and things like verbena, bacopa, diascia for "filling in".
    I'd suggest going to a local nursery - ours sells the pot and basket plants for about 60p each, with the geraniums and fuschias about £1 for the small ones. They grow on pretty quick once planted or you can pay more for slightly larger ones. The advantage over b and q etc is there is more choice, and you can buy as many or as little as you want as opposed to having to buy packs of 6 or 12.
    It can be a bit trial and error, (my first attempts were a bit dire compared to my mums) but as long as you like them and enjoy doing it, that's what counts.
    I use new compost every year for the flowers as once I hoik the roots out it looks a bit sad and spent.
    With the potatoes I tend to do half old compost and half new, with a bit of soil improver and bone meal mixed in to cover all the bases. I do change it round though and use the carrot compost for the potatoes or whatever - my version of crop rotation!
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • iwannanicerlife
    Thank you for your suggestions guys, guess what I'll be doing this weekend?!
This discussion has been closed.
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 343.8K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250.3K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 450K Spending & Discounts
  • 235.9K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 609.1K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173.4K Life & Family
  • 248.5K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards