Gardening

Keys to combining several plants in a pot successfully

One way to make better use of the space you have is by combining several plants in the same pot. This is something that can help make the place look more beautiful, while allowing you to grow more species, which you may like to know if you are a collector and/ or just want to have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the largest number. possible from plants. But it is very important to choose the species well, otherwise they will end up having problems.

On the one hand, they will compete with each other for space and nutrients in a brutal way, until there are only those that grow faster and are, therefore, stronger; and on the other, if there are plants in the same container whose water, soil and/ or fertilizer needs are different, the weakest ones will also end up falling. So, if you want to be successful, write down the keys to combine several plants in a pot, planter… or any other container.

To make reading this article more comfortable, I have divided it into two sections: Plants and Pots. In the first we will focus on how to choose the plants correctly, while in the second we will talk about how the pots (or other containers) have to be so that the composition looks perfect. Let us begin:

Plants

How should the plants be used to make compositions? In general, it is very important that they meet these characteristics:

Its adult size is small

The bigger a plant, the more space it will need. Therefore, if in a composition we have, for example, a tree or a shrub type Yucca or Dracaena, together with plants such as geranium or cane of the Indies, it is most likely that the former ‘steal’ the nutrients from the plants. others, thus preventing them from growing normally.

To prevent things like this from happening, it is highly recommended to choose small plants, or not very large, such as bulbous flowers, aromatic plants, or most succulents (succulents and cacti).

They have similar growing needs

Since I started writing on the blog in 2013 until today, one of the most repeated queries is that of »I have a stick of water in kokedama and it is dying, what is wrong?». The words may vary, but the message is the same. And the measures to take, too: plant the water stick in a pot with soil that drains the water well and water it little. Why?

Because we are talking about a plant, whose scientific name is Dracaena fragrans, which is not only not suitable for kokedamas as it can reach a height of more than 6 meters, but it must also be known that it needs a soil that is capable of absorbing and filtering water quickly, otherwise its roots will rot. And this is just one example.

If we want our plant compositions to last us many years, it is essential to choose those that have similar needs. Therefore, we invite you to do them taking into account the following:

  • Sun, little water and mineral substrate (volcanic sand): succulent plants, such as Fenestraria, Argyroderma, Lithops, or even some cacti such as Rebutia, Mammillaria or Frailea.
  • Sun, moderate watering and peat-based substrate (preferably mixed with perlite): bulbous (tulip, narcissus, hyacinth,…), or aromatic plants ( Thymus vulgaris or thyme, Mentha spicata or peppermint, Rosmarinus officinalis or rosemary,…).
  • Sun, frequent waterings and peat-based substrate: with these conditions, you have to look for aquatic or semi-aquatic plants, such as Alisma plantago-aquatica (plantago), Carex, Iris sibirica, or Lobelia cardinalis.
  • Semi-shade/ shade, moderate watering and peat-based substrate: practically any fern, such as Nephrolepis, Pteris or Asplenium (bird’s nest). Also flowering plants such as Viola x writrockiana (pansies) or Begonia.
  • Semi-shade/ shade, moderate irrigations with lime-free water and substrates for acidophilic plants: Rhododendron (and azaleas), Camellia, Gardenia, Daphne odora, Forsythia.

Don’t forget to transplant them or prune them when necessary

Plants grow, some more than others. When making compositions, the ideal is to look for those that do not grow much, since they will be the ones that will have to be transplanted a few times throughout their life. Therefore, if you see that the roots are coming out of the drainage holes, they have occupied the entire container, or some begin to grow more quickly than others, do not hesitate to plant them in a larger container.

Related article:Transplant plants

On the other hand, depending on the plants you have chosen, you will have to prune them from time to time. Thus, those that produce numerous side shoots, such as peppermint, will have to be pruned after flowering to keep them ‘small’. If you have opted for succulent plants like Haworthia, or others that tend to produce suckers, these can be separated/ removed at any time.

Pots/ Containers

Let’s now go on to talk about the characteristics of the pots or containers where these plants will be, since there are different models and materials, and if we want them to look really good, we must stop and think about it a little.

The size of the container must be adequate for the plants

Once you have decided which plants you are going to use to create your composition, bearing in mind the adult size they are going to have, you will be able to know if the container has to be rather large or rather small. For example, if you are growing a few bulbous plants, a small container will be a better choice than a large one; On the other hand, if you are going to plant bushy plants, you will have to get either a large pot or a wide and deep planter.

How to know that this container is the most suitable? Well, in general, herbaceous, bulbous and succulent plants have a shallow root system, so that, unlike shrubs, they will not need them to be especially deep. In fact, they are better advised to plant them in wider than deep pots. But if you have to plant bushy or large plants, do not hesitate to choose those pots that are more or less as wide as they are deep, or that have a greater depth.

The material must be resistant

As we well know, there are pots and planters made of different materials: plastic, clay, ceramic, masonry. Depending on where you are going to have the composition, one or the other will be more recommended:

  • Plastic: It is a very, very durable material, as well as lightweight. Its price is also interesting, so much so that we find good quality pots and planters at low prices. But if it is in the sun, and if it is an area with a high degree of insolation, over the years it spoils, although fortunately today plastic pots that have been treated to withstand those conditions are well obtained.
  • Mud: it is a material that can be very decorative, so it will look great outside. But you must be careful, because it does not resist falls. The price is higher than that of plastic.
  • Ceramic: like clay, it is very beautiful but very fragile. Besides, ceramic pots are usually small and without holes in the base.
  • On-site: one option is to make your own pot or planter with construction materials. Thus, you can make it the size and shape you need, getting a durable container. Another advantage is that it can look great on terraces, patios and gardens.

It must have holes in its base

The pots or containers where plants are grown must have holes in their base that will serve as a drain. Only if aquatic plants are grown, those that do not have these holes should be chosen. Why is this important? To prevent the roots from rotting. And it is that, by having constant contact with water, the plant literally drowns.

For this reason, in addition, it is not advisable to put a plate under them unless you are always going to remember to remove the excess water after each irrigation.

Photos of plant compositions

If you need ideas, here are some images of beautiful compositions:

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Image – Turbosquid.com

We hope it has been useful to you .

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