With space at a premium, sometimes it simply isn't practical to plant out a garden bed in your garden - or perhaps you want to grow some greenery where there's no soil to plant them to thrive in. Enter container gardening. It's perfect for those with small courtyards or balconies, and fabulous for those who rent.
Why container gardening?
There are many reasons to consider growing plants in containers, rather than in the ground. The first of these is portability. If you want to change up your garden's configuration, it's much easier to move a potted plant than it is to uproot something that's established in your garden bed. Similarly, if you're renting a home and you have to move, you can take your beloved garden along with you.
Secondly, growing plants in pots means you're less restricted by soil type. Sometimes your garden soil may be hostile to certain plant varieties, or the plant combination you have your heart set on simply won't thrive in the type of soil you have. By planting in containers, you can use a different soil mix every time to ensure each plant gets the nutrients it needs.
Finally, pots come in a range of sizes and styles, so you can add an extra visual factor to your outdoor decor. You can match them to your outdoor settings or other backyard features, go for a contrasting style, or mix and match for a truly eclectic feel.
Our top picks
At Flower Power, we're the garden people for a reason - we just love plants. We've put together some of our favourite plants that love the great outdoors, and that also happen to thrive when grown in pots. We've also found some gorgeous pots you'll get fantastic use out of. No matter whether you have a rambling sprawl of land or a cosmopolitan little courtyard, we've got the perfect plant and pot combo for you.
We love a palm tree, because they're the fastest way to turn your balcony into an outdoor oasis. For that every-day's-a-holiday feeling, we recommend a mix of Kentia, Golden Cane and Bangalow palms - their different sizes and growth habits will create a lush, textured look. We've paired them with our Windsor Cylinder Pots in minimalist white. These lightweight yet tall pots are elegant to look at and easy to move - plus, they look great clustered together in different sizes.
The iconic image of the desert is a cactus, and the Euphoria Acrurensis imitates this perfectly. This low-maintenance plant is intriguing to look at and, apart from regular deep watering, requires little additional care - making it perfect for lazy gardeners. Be careful with this one around kids, though - like the cacti it resembles, it has prickly spines, and its white sap can be very irritating to sensitive skin. Paired with our amazing hand-made terracotta Atlantis Beehive Cylinder Pot, this makes a fabulous stand-alone statement piece for a decked area.
Bird's Nest Fern
While it doesn't have the typical feathery fronds you'd expect of a fern, the Bird's Nest Fern is one of the most popular varieties around. Its broad, leathery leaves form a rosette pattern and can grow anywhere from 1-2m in length. As a jungle plant in its natural habitat, this plant loves humidity and will thrive if watered well, provided its soil and pot are well-draining. The more light the Bird's Nest Fern gets, the more crinkled texture its leaves develop, too. Avoid full sun, however, as this is a plant susceptible to sunburn. We love the 'Norfolk Gem' variety potted up in our elegant Madrid Drum Pot.
Want to bring the feel of the Mediterranean to your yard? The quickest way is with an olive tree. These stunning plants with their slim stems and silvery-green foliage provide an elegant focal point in your garden - and despite being most at home in their humid, native Mediterranean climate, they are very versatile plants that also work in both cooler and subtropical climates. It's worth noting, however, that they are not tolerant of severe frosts. Kalamata olives are a popular choice for Sydney gardens, but for instant effect, we love a mature Mission Olive potted up in our hand-made terracotta Gotland Pot. Hot tip - make extra use of your container by underplanting your olive tree with a range of herbs including rosemary, sage and curry plant, just like we've done here.
Dwarf False Cardamom
Lush, full and evergreen, this South-East Asian ginger plant has super aromatic foliage, which exudes a spicy scent when it's rubbed. Dwarf False Cardamoms produce pretty panicles of unique white shell-like flowers through summer. Compact and hardy, this plant will grow in a range of conditions, but prefers full sun to part shade and a rich, moist- well-draining soil. It makes quite an impact when planted in clumps or used as underplanting - we potted up three 200mm plants in our lightweight grey Leighton Bowl for an instant hit of glossy green.
With its spindly, spider-like growth habit, this succulent is truly a standout in any garden. Native to the Canary Islands, Ceropegia Dichotoma's pale green stems play occasional host to clusters of tubular, light yellow flowers. This architectural designer succulent is drought-tolerant and prefers a well-draining soil. As a fairly busy plant with so many stems, a minimal pot like our lightweight grey Southampton Bowl is Ceropegia Dichotoma's perfect match.
There's no better way to flavour your food than with freshly-picked herbs you've grown yourself. They aren't difficult to grow, and being able to use your own produce while cooking is a particularly rewarding practice. Aside from the practicality of growing your own, herb plants are super fragrant and can add a variety of colours and textures to your container garden. For a balcony or a courtyard area, choose a big pot - we like our lightweight Stanton Bowl, which is both gorgeous to look at and easy to move around - and get to work filling it with a variety of herbs. Rosemary, sage, basil, mint, coriander, lemon balm, parsley - you name it, you can grow it yourself. For even more flavour impact, why not try growing some of our new range of Elite Herbs?
Teddy Bear Magnolia
If you want to add some evergreen beauty to your garden, it is difficult to go past the magnolia family. Exhbiting beautiful, glossy foliage in a deep green with a copper-coloured underside, this hardy dwarf magnolia loves a sunny spot with well-draining soil, but is tolerant of partial shade and a range of growing conditions. Teddy Bear Magnolia flowers are cream in colour with a beautiful, strong fragrance, appearing all the way through summer and autumn. It grows in a conical to rounded shape and is perfect for potting. We love it in our Atlantis Cyprus Preserve pot - the perfect statement pair!