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There are small tables more garnished and welcoming than larger and prestigious. Size is not everything, and even if your field of expression is limited to a few square meters in the sky, think of it as if it were a garden. This lack of space will require just a little more rigor, a good knowledge of the constraints of growing in pots and compliance with a few rules of composition to achieve successful staging. We will insist on the rules of composition and the choice of plants, because knowing how to keep plants alive is not enough to call yourself a gardener or claim to have an attractive garden! The cultivation in pots or tubs allows those who wish to decorate their terrace or balcony, or even more modestly to plant a window sill. However, it is not the preserve of city gardeners! The culture in pot also makes sense for the gardener who has a garden: either to welcome frost plants, which will have to be wintered during the cold months by returning them to the shelter, or to animate the immediate exteriors of the house, using pots of different colors, shapes and heights. Because growing in pots makes it possible - almost easier than in a garden - to stage spaces in a fun and varied way. Note, for those who do not trust their imagination, that municipalities are the champions of exercise and that many good ideas can be taken by looking at their achievements, both in terms of plant marriages and typologies and how to hang or arrange them.
Choose your pots and tubs with care
You will keep your pots probably longer than your plants, and their specifics will then depend on the well-being of your plantations. Two good reasons to choose them carefully! Here are a few tips : - Take care of the total weight of your small garden: "How much does my lemon tree weigh?" Here is a question that an inhabitant in a detached house will never ask, but that, conversely, an urban inhabitant, gardening on his terrace and as soon as his project is scope, should not ignore! In the same idea, make sure of the reliability of the hanging systems that you use to hang the pots on your shutters and the railings of your windows. - Choose the materials for your pots and tubs, knowingly : We were talking about weight, know about this that a plastic pot is much lighter than its counterpart in terracotta. On the other hand, the latter ensures better living conditions for the roots, which it protects from overheating. As always, you will have to weigh the pros and cons! - Think of watering from this stage: In the garden center, you cannot fail to notice the pots with water reserves. A very practical integrated device since it provides a small autonomy to the plants during the summer season. Enough to leave for a long weekend or a week leaving your balcony to fend for yourself.
Choose your plants carefully
You will have to learn to put your tastes in the background, and to think first of the adequacy between the plants and their growing space, as well as the effect you want to produce. Never mind, this is a good exercise that will teach you how to get out of (too) well-known species and make discoveries full of charm! Here are a few tips : - Choose your plants according to the location where you intend them : Who says growing in pots often says problematic of watering, the plants having no possibility of fetching water deep in the basement. To avoid being a slave to maintenance, it is wise to choose plants that are not afraid of drought. Some interesting varieties for full sun: gazanias, anthemis, osteospermum, verbena, lantanas… If your crops are in a very shady location, here are some varieties that will please you: lamiers, impatiens, lobélias, begonias… - Choose your plants according to the staging you want to create: Do you want to attenuate a vis-à-vis, camouflage ugly pipes, bring lightness to a solid wall or introduce color? Ask yourself the question of your needs, well before that of the plants that you like, because it is this approach that will allow you to think well your space as a whole from the first plantings. Without problematic vis-à-vis, and if it is above all the color that pleases you, fill up with flowers, perennial or annual, by choosing varieties whose flowerings are staggered. If you are looking for visual protection, think of evergreen shrubs - bamboo, thuja, laurel, etc. - which will make perfect screens. Be aware, however, that nothing forces you to create a real visual "wall", at the risk of losing the benefit of the opening to the outside brought by your balcony or terrace. On the contrary, do not hesitate to sculpt your plants (your laurel into a ball on a stem for example) to create shapes and animation, the plant then remaining sufficiently opaque to protect you from outside looks.
Listen to the needs of your plants
Unlike a well-established garden that can to some extent manage on its own (except for weeding), a pot garden cannot succeed without regular attention and care. Here are a few tips : - Ensure good drainage: This is the key to the good health of the roots ... and therefore of the plant! The idea here is to allow good circulation of water in the pot, to prevent it from stagnating, causing a risk of root rot, or even freezing of the plant and the pot itself in winter. For this, choose pots with an 8-10 mm diameter hole. If you are using a decorative plant pot, choose it significantly higher than your pot so that the bottom of the pot does not come into contact with the standing water in the plant pot. Finally, at the time of planting, be sure to form a real drainage bed: place very draining substrates like clay balls or pebbles at the bottom, about 1 / 5th of the height of the pot. - Choose the right substrates : Not all plants have the same needs. Some (azalea, heather…) will only succeed if they have heather earth. Pay attention to the specific needs of each at the time of planting. - Watch for watering : Here is THE question, the thorny point that can bend the greatest garden desires and discourage those who have already embarked on the adventure. Because growing in pots is greedy in water - more than growing in the ground - the roots dry faster in this reduced space which prevents them from going to fetch water in depth. If the rain is there, you will just have to check the efficiency of your drainage systems. If the water is lacking and you have to be absent, use one of the following devices: a water retention system to plant in the pot, tubs with water reserve or an automatic sprinkler system (a pipe which feeds, by drip, all of your pots). In addition, you can punctually offer a real bath (of youth) to your plants by immersing the root ball while it soaks in deeply. - Protect your plants from climatic hazards : If your balcony is exposed to the wind, you will need to caulk it (using laths for example) before trying to place plants there. In winter, protect frost-resistant plants with a winter veil. In summer, bathe the foliage in case of strong heat and put in place a mulch which will limit the evaporation of water. - Maintain your plants regularly: A disadvantage of growing in pots or in a small space? Sick plants and poor maintenance are noticed much faster! You will have to look for an impression of optimal fulfillment. For this, remove sick plants and annuals as soon as they have finished their cycle, and take the opportunity to vary your decor. - Fertilize your plants: The substrate of potted plants is quickly depleted. You can fertilize your plants by removing the first centimeters of soil to replace them with new soil. You can take advantage of this step to introduce slow-release fertilizer sticks. Some fertilizers are supplied by liquid. Choose according to your preferences and the needs of your plants.
Showcase your pots and tubs
Space being limited, it is even more important to think carefully about the choice of plants and the composition they will form together! Here are a few tips : - Play with heights: Install low species and high varieties so that they enhance each other. In the case of a suspension, place the tall plants in the center, otherwise your composition will seem unbalanced. - Play with textures: Some plants have velvety foliage, others aerial, thorny ... Be attentive to these characteristics to take advantage of them, by playing on contrasts for example. - Play with colors: Feel like a painter, free to create the colorful atmosphere of your choice. You can play the card of shades, contrasts between complementary ... everything is possible as long as the search for harmony prevails! - Dare to have plenty: A prolific effect is not obtained (only) by planting tight. Certainly 3 flowers do not make a planter, but not too much either! Most important ? Respect the living space of each plant and imagine the composition once each has reached its adult size. Even if you are impatient, know how to temper your ardor for as long as it takes, the reward will only be greater! - Create rhythms: Do all plants make you want? However, we will have to learn to choose! Because the prettiest results will be obtained by marrying a handful of varieties, from 3 to 5. Plus, it's visual chaos! Less is the sadness of the monotony. Think of a rhythm and try to recreate it through your different compositions. - Play on the shelves: Do not place all your pots on the ground. If you want to have a view, place them on the contrary at eye level, and play on the shelves using various heights that you can create through accessories such as a table, a small bench, a wooden log , a trellis, a suspension ... Take advantage also of the supports at your disposal (the slots of the louver shutters are perfect for example for hanging small pots in height). You will also understand that by playing on height, it is easier then to move around on your balcony!