Compact versions of cottage garden perennials grow well in pots, where they make a looser and more natural alternative to tender bedding plants.
When to start: Spring.
At their best: Summer.
Time to complete: 1 hour.
You will need: Wide pot, broken clay pot pieces, soil-based potting mix, slow-release fertilizer granules.
Selection of plants to use: Carex ‘Ice Dance’, Delphinium grandiflorum, Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’, Veronica spicata ‘Rosenrot’.
Prepare and Plant
Place broken clay pot pieces over the holes in the base of the container, then half-fill it with soil. Plant the delphinium toward the back and arrange the other, lower-growing plants, in front. Fill around them with more soil, and mix in slow-release fertilizer granules. Water the plants well.
With the correct care, this can be a long-lasting container that flowers year after year. In early spring, remove all dead growth to make way for the new spring shoots. At the same time, remove the top layer of soil, and replace with fresh soil mixed with fertilizer granules. The plants will also require regular division.
Tips: Repotting and dividing perennials
In the garden, herbaceous perennials need lifting, dividing, and replanting every few years to keep them healthy. In a pot, this should be done more often, at least every two years. Lift the plants out of the pot and use your hands to tease sections apart. Discard any old or weak clumps, then replant the healthiest offsets into fresh soil with some fertilizer.