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Plant calculator

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Bonnie23, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter


    This spring (once it starts to act like spring) I would like to start potting some plants in my garden.

    I'm just after the best advice for plants. What are the easiest to take care of? How many plants would fit in one medium size pot?

    My grandparents had fantastic green thumbs, hopefully I can pick up the same skills :)

    Thank you
  2. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    That's the vaguest thing!
    You need to account for climate, space, light, preference, diseases, pests, aspect, humidity, shade, available time, longevity, permanence...all sorts. Do you want to grow from seed, or seedlings, or plantlets, or transplants? Do you want annuals, perennials, hardy, half-hardy, ornamentals, exotics, victorian, herbs, flowers, shrubs la la la...
    It's the same as posting "what do you think I should do tomorrow"! How should anybody know?
    Start here, as good a place as any, have a browse for what you think is pretty, that's what I'd do. Because whatever you grow, you are going to end up looking at it, above all else. Then come back and ask if any of us know how to grow it...
  3. silkywave

    silkywave Lead commenter

    D551C44A-9991-467C-93BD-4CC3DAF34BD7.jpeg If you are going to plant pots you are going to have water them (and stop them getting eaten by slugs most likely. So if you want “easy” use plastic plants.
    How many plants would fit in a medium sized pot? I small shrub (perenial) or half a dozen annuals.
    Do you want to buy plants or grow seeds?
    Okay, here is about the easiest I can suggest for a pot of flowers. Buy 5 marguerites plants when small, maybe as plug plants, a daisy like flower in yellows,pinks and reds. Fill pot with potting compost, plant marguerites, water.
    lizziescat, thistledoo and Bonnie23 like this.
  4. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    Oh dear... I have no idea what half of this is! I just want to start off with something simple with a few potted plants, probably not from seeds this year so i'm assuming planlets? Normal plants that can survive a british climate. I will look at the link though, thank you!
  5. thistledoo

    thistledoo Senior commenter

    I suggest you do some internet research because there is a lot to consider as @sbkrobson mentions. You need to decide on the type of pots/ planters and where they will be positioned. Try:
    https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile or www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/plant_container1.shtml
    Later in the season go and look around several garden centres for ideas.
    Also try youtube videos and replays of garden programmes.

    Whatever you choose, regularly water, twice in hot weather or your efforts will dry out and fail. I also put plant food in the water once a week later in the season.

    Good luck, I hope you enjoy your pot plant gardening!
    Bonnie23 likes this.
  6. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Ah, of course the other one is see what your neighbours are growing, because that straight away indicates that the climate and possibly also the soil type you have may be suitable. You could photograph and post the pictures here for us to identify,but make sure it's just the plants, not their property, they might not like that. Or there's that now almost obsolete method of talking to them, to inquire what the plants are...
    Bonnie23 likes this.
  7. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    If you talk to neighbours about gardening they will most likely offer you cuttings from their garden. Bear in mind that they will be the most rampant plants that will grow like fury - in my garden that would be marguerites, peonies and passion flower but it will vary.

    I suggest you trawl round a garden centre in a couple of months time and pick a) what you like the look of and b) what you can afford. Aldi and Lidl also have plant 'specials ' that are usually quite successful in my experience. Gardening is all about learning what works there are no easy answers and whatever you plant will need regular maintenance.
    Bonnie23 likes this.
  8. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    It's far too early to plant calculators. You might get lucky with an early stapler or one of the hybrid paper shredders.
  9. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    Hi there. Good advice from others. If you are new to gardening, I'd look in your neighbours gardens then go to the garden centre and pick some plants you like the look of. Understanding your garden is a bit of trial and error so what better than what you like? I would avoid shrubs at this point because they can grow a bit wild and are more difficult to move later and usually more expensive. If you are on a tight budget, some of the garden catalogues have big trays or plug plants (small start off plants), although they do need some care and attention.
    Annuals (grow each year) so you can quickly see what looks good but you don't have to put up with them next year. Some do self seed which means you could get more of them next year. They are cheap to buy and fairly easy to care for. At this time of year you will see plenty of primroses about, although they can grow back next year too.
    Perennials (come up each year, dying back in the winter), are hardier but more expensive if you buy a decent sized plant. At garden centres they often come with a guarantee. Local fetes are a good way to get cheap ones but usually you gave to wait until the summer.
    Bulbs are cheap and fairly easy to grow and you can get some good deals now for summer flowering. Spring flowering like daffs and tulips needed to have gone in in the autumn really.

    If you buy plants, they usually have a label explaining how to care for them, and how tall they grow, so I'd plant taller at the back with shorter at the front.

    How big is 'medium' plot? One person's medium is another's tiny or huge. I' always amazed how big the 'small' plots in garden magazines are!
    thistledoo, Bonnie23 and lizziescat like this.
  10. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Oh dear. What a pity tes got rid of the gardening forum.

    FWIW, don’t be put off by the potential complexity of it all. It really isn’t that difficult (unless you’re hoping for prizes at the local show). Basically you buy plants (not seeds) and put them in pots.

    So assuming that, you just want some colour (and now it’ll be summer colour) and you’re thinking about pots I think the only ‘technical’ stuff you need to know is:

    1. You need to plant in compost suitable for pots ( I use general purpose but you can buy special compost for pots)
    2. For pots I’d use eg geraniums, petunias lobelia -sometimes called bedding plants in garden centres. They also, often have selections of plant already grouped as suitable for pots.( but these wont be ready jus5 yet.)
    3. Don’t plant these outside though until all possibility of frost has past.
    4. Pots will need to be watered every day (or more in really hot weather.)
    5. They should also be fed eg once a week.

    For help with compost, plants etc. use your local garden centre (who can also advise eg regarding frost in your area). Explain that you are just beginning and they should be able to help.

    See if there is a local horticultural society. They will welcome a new member, they often hold talks and will certainly be willing tohelp a beginner. Our local ones also have a plant sale in the late spring where bedding plants are pretty cheap.

    Use you tube or tv gardening programmes (eg gardeners world) to see how they plant up a pot or container.
    Some of their content can be a bit more technical - but that can come later.

    Oh and please come back to tell us how you get on or to ask for further ideas.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
    thistledoo and Bonnie23 like this.
  11. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    You could have a pot with little lettuces and things in. You can buy them as little plants fom about April in the garen centre, then you can cut leaves as you need them and have free salads all summer. If you are ambitious then a courgette plant works well in a fairly big pot, although it will need lots of sun and watering. Or herbs? Or french beans? Or tomatoes?
    Or a mixture, which would look pretty.
    thistledoo and Bonnie23 like this.
  12. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Container gardening is more effort than gardening in the soil, are you sure this is what you want? Large containers are easier than small containers.

    Get a basic gardening book and get a better idea of what sort of thing you want.

    Decide what you want before you go buying plants from a garden centre, they often sell huge quantities of really quite unsuitable plants because they are in flower when they are on the shelves.
    thistledoo and Bonnie23 like this.
  13. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    I couldn't disagree more. Looking at plants in pictures don't do them justice wheres seeing them in real life, you get drawn to what you like. By all means take a couple of trips before deciding.

    I'm a garden centre addict, I don' buy shoes or handbags, (or clothes unless need them) but I can be lost for hours looking around garden centres. I get ideas when the garden centres have their own garden to look at. I love yellows and reds in my flower bed. But then I also love black and white, which is a somewhat more difficult look to achieve.
  14. tsarina

    tsarina Occasional commenter

    A good tip when using pots is to buy the water gel crystals and add a handful mixed in to the potting compost in the bottom 2/3rds of the pot.
    upload_2018-3-4_11-5-17.jpeg upload_2018-3-4_11-5-26.jpeg
    thistledoo, Bonnie23 and wanet like this.
  15. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Plus most composts have insufficient nutrients for long term, need to feed the plants.
    thistledoo and Bonnie23 like this.
  16. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Fair enough, your opinion, garden centres sell many plants that are more often than not just potted bunches of flowers with shelf appeal and the labels on garden centre plants are often quite erroneous.

    Plants should generally be planted months before they do their thing rather than when in flower.

    Shopping by look at the time is like going food shopping when starving and with no idea of what ingredients you need for a meal.

    I would always advise anyone to decide what they want before they go to buy plants and not impulse buy unless they are expert enough to know what they are looking at.
    Bonnie23 likes this.
  17. tsarina

    tsarina Occasional commenter

    thistledoo and Bonnie23 like this.

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