Containers allow for choice in both size and scope of what you wish to grow. Some containers will be small enough to act as an attractive centre piece on an outdoor table and others will be large enough to allow work to be done comfortably from a standing position. It may be you have a selection of pots, some fixed raised beds made of rail sleepers or brick, or recycled materials such as an old sink or planting bags to plant into.
Be careful of waterlogging as this could result in the plants being susceptible to root rot or dying due to lack of available oxygen to the roots. Drainage is key, for this reason make sure your containers have sufficient enough holes at the base, so they avoid becoming waterlogged.
Make sure to choose containers that will comfortably provide root space for the plants you wish to grow. You do not wish to stress the plant or have a plant that demands a lot of watering due to lack of available moisture in its growing environment.
While containers allow for greater control of growing medium and are easier to keep free from pests and diseases it is still worth bearing in mind that some pests and diseases such as vine weevil and ants can thrive within them. With smaller containers the solution can be as easy as emptying your container, cleaning it out and starting again.
We will look here at growing containers for annual and alpine plants and the differences in growing conditions they require and what is feasible with both these plants in way of what they offer.
Annuals are plants that complete their full lifecycle in the space of one year. Ensure plants are well watered before placing in containers. Remove any dead or yellowing growth from stems and leaves as well as dead flowers before planting.
Alpines such as Dianthus or Saxifraga are hardy so can survive outside in cold winters, they do not however like their roots being submerged in cold water so require good drainage and prefer a neutral or slightly alkaline soil.