Glen, about the house

April 16th, 2022Glen, about the house

Glen, about the house

Going to pot?

Hi Glen, Just wondering, I am escaping for a couple of months over winter and want to pot two plants before I go. They will be outside but near a wall. What survives our winters? I will be back in spring to give it some care. – Louise, Coomoora

Almost any new plant you choose to grow in a container, where its roots are isolated from natural shade, water and food supplies, will ultimately suffer without regular care and attention. If it is located on concrete or a stone base, or against an unshaded wall, the odds against it are even greater.
Obviously a deciduous plant – dormant for the major part of your absence – will need some care in the latter winter weeks, as the new buds appear ready for the spring growth and, of course, a drought veteran of a hardy species would probably have no problem in the interim.
As a suggestion, depending on the size and weight of the plant, pot and all, why not place your pots in a nice shady spot under a tree and relocate them when you’re back and able to apply a little TLC.
There are plenty of most suitable perennials and shrubs for growing in containers in all situations. Some of my favourites are listed below.

But I must first mention my all time favourites, once derided as “Granny’s pot plants”, always to be seen proudly guarding the tap by our grandparents’ kitchen door.
Recently, in a demon-like resurgence, and with a multitude of amazing varieties, these seemingly bullet-proof plants are again firm garden favourites in our garden….as you can see from the photo right. I would like to recommend that you choose a couple for your pots and providing you get them started right away, they’ll be still as good as gold when you get back. Providing you follow my instructions!
Purchase your plants from an outdoors nursery where they are already sun-hardened. Xerophytes, or succulents, have parts that are thickened, fleshy, and engorged, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions and can literally survive for weeks without water. I’ll leave the choice to you.

To ensure success, you need to pot the plants up in the best suited potting mix, in this case, a crumbly, porous mix, in a container filled almost to the brim to avoid any moisture hanging around the surface to rot the stems or leaves. A good soaking drink just before you leave will suffice for several weeks. If succulents aren’t your thing, here are few of my favourite shrubs to choose from.
For the shade: Acer palmatum (Japanese maple aucuba (gold dust laurel), azaleas, begonias, boronia, camellia sasanquas, daphne, erica, fuchsias, gardenia, and, of course the many ferns.
Sun lovers: Obviously many to choose from including buxus (box), chaenomeles (flowering quince), choisya ternata (Mexican orange blossom), hebe (veronica) in all its forms, lavender, myrtus (myrtle), nandina domestica (Japanese sacred bamboo) and rosemary.
And let us not the forget the free-flowering, grow anywhere, geraniums and pelargoniums, nor the roses and particularly the miniature varieties and especially the standard ones.
Plant now: Evergreen trees and shrubs planted now should make good headway before the really cold, wet weather sets in. The soil is still reasonably warm so there is a little time left for them to begin root action before air temperatures are lower and transpiration is reduced. Keep them well watered though, because any dryness at the roots can cause a severe shock from which they may never recover.
If you still have a mind to plant spring bulbs, the same rules would apply.

Got a gardening question: Email glenzgarden@gmail.com

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