How To Create Colourful Containers

How To Create Colourful Containers

Add instant colour to the doorway, backyard or garden with a planted pot

Combine pretty leaves, colourful flowers and scented blooms in beautiful pots for dazzling displays. Containers of all shapes and styles make beautiful features in gardens, but to create the most dramatic effects you need to be bold. Either choose one large pot or group three made from the same material in different sizes for a layered look and then pack them with colourful flowers and textured leaves. Choose from our great range of lightweight pots made from a mixture of man-made and natural materials. These beautiful containers come in granite, lead and clay finishes and in contemporary and traditional styles.

Planting Tips

When planting a container, water the plants beforehand. Choose a pot with one or two drainage holes then place polystyrene plant packaging, large stones or broken pottery at the bottom to aid drainage. When planted, place your container on “feet” (you can buy these in-store) to raise it off the ground and allow water to drain freely. Now try our stunning recipes for shade and for a sunny site.

Foliage Effects

This classy combination of leafy plants potted up in chic black pots is ideal for a partially shaded patio and will look stunning year after year. Replace the top layer of compost with fresh every spring.

You will need

  • 3 x black containers of different sizes and shapes
  • John Innes No 3 compost Ericaceous compost
  • Miracle Gro Slow Release Granules
  • 1 x variegated hosta
  • 1 x Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)
  • 3 x variegated Brunnera
  • 3 x burgundy-leaved heucheras
  • 1 x fern (Dyropteris affinis‘Cristata’

Potting up

1. Half fill the pots with John Innes compost. Use a 50:50 mix of John Innes and ericaceous compost for the Japanese maple.

2. Tip the hosta out of its pot and place in the smallest container. Fill in around the root ball with more compost mixed with Miracle Gro Granules. Firm the compost gently. Add a layer of horticultural sand around the plant’s neck or apply slug pellets to protect it from slug damage.

3. Remove the maple from its pot and place in the centre of the largest container. Try not to bury the stem in compost – it should beat the same level as it was in its original pot. Add the brunneras around the edge, and fill in around all four plants with compost mixed with Miracle Gro Granules.

4. Plant the fern as for the hosta and edge with heucheras.

5. Water plants every few days in spring and summer. The hosta and brunneras will die down in winter but will appear again in spring. This is when you need to add more Miracle Gro Granules to all the containers.

Country Collection

Recreate a rural idyll with this flowery mix of clematis, lavender, daisies and nemesias. Easy to look after, the plants need just a little TLC.

You will need

  • 3 x Fibre clay containers in different sizes
  • 1 x faux lead plant support
  • John Innes No 3 compost Multi-purpose compost
  • Miracle Gro Slow Release Granules
  • 1 x Clematis Abilene or similar Raymond Evison patio clematis
  • 3 x Rhodanthemum ‘African Eyes’
  • 2 x French lavender
  • 1 x pink marguerites
  • 3 x Nemesia ‘Myrtille’

Potting up

1. Half fill the larger pots with John Innes No 3 compost. Use multi-purpose compost to half fill the smallest container.

2. Space the nemesias in the small pot and fill around the root balls with multi-purpose compost mixed with some Miracle Gro Granules.

3. Combine the lavender and marguerites in the mid-sized pot and fill in around the roots with John Innes and some Miracle Gro Granules, firming gently as you go. Try not to bury the stems in compost – the plants should be the same level as they were in their original pots.

4. Place the plant support at the back of the large container and position the clematis just in front. Arrange the rhodanthemums at the front of the pot and fill in around them with John Innes mixed with Miracle Gro Granules. Carefully untie the clematis stems from their canes, which can then be removed, and attach the plants with soft twine to the faux-lead support.

5. Water every few days. These plants are all hardy, except the nemesias, which need to be replaced each year. In spring, remove the top layer of soil and add fresh compost mixed with Miracle Gro Granules, and cut down the clematis stems to about 20cm (8in) from the soil surface.

A Taste of the Tropics

The large, exotic blooms of Mandevilla are in a class of their own. They bring a hint of the tropics to a warm, sunny patio, where they will put on a show all summer. Mandevillas are not hardy, so over-winter them in a heated greenhouse or conservatory, or just buy new ones each year.

You will need

  • 1 x tall lightweight container
  • 3 tall bamboo canes
  • John Innes No 3 compost
  • 1 x bag of grit
  • Miracle Gro Slow Release Granules
  • 1 x Mandevilla

Potting up

1. Fill the pot to 25cm (10in) from the top with John Innes compost mixed with grit.

2. Tip the plant out of its pot and place on the compost. Position the bamboo canes around the edge and tie them together at the top to form a pyramid.

3. Fill in around the canes and plant with more compost mixed with Miracle Gro Granules. Firm the compost gently.

4. Untie the plant stems from their original supports and tie them on to the bamboo canes with twine.

5. Keep the plant well watered and tie in any new stems to the canes. Move the plant indoors for the winter.

Help in store! Ask our expert staff if you need help choosing containers to suit your garden or if you require more planting advice.

Profile Image Angela Slater

Angela Slater

Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas.