Plant Container Care with Martin Fish and Pots & Trowels

It’s that time of year again to give your plant container pots a little spruce up.

After a very mixed season of weather, it can be difficult to know when to undertake certain garden jobs. With warm spells followed by an icy blast, when do you start your container care?

In a recent Pots & Trowels video, Martin Fish shared some expert advice to help you know when to start your spring and summer spruce up and how to do it! Watch his video below or keep reading this for top tips and advice to help you make your containers look bright and beautiful for the season ahead.

It’s common to grow a good selection of plants in containers. They’re easy to maintain, you can move them around your garden or patio, and they brighten up dull outside spaces in minutes. Some plants can be selected based on seasonal demands, adding colour or scent to your space. Others can be more functional, and you can grow specific plants in pots to ensure they get the exact care and conditions they need to flourish. But ultimately, you can grow anything in a container as long as you keep it well watered and fed.

What Equipment Do I Need to Care for My Plant Containers?

Here’s a list of the items you’ll need for your container care:

  • Compost
  • Pots (if you’re re-potting)
  • Labels
  • Secateurs – Try the Darlac Compact Pruner for a fantastic all-rounder.
  • Feed (granules or liquid seaweed)
  • The Darlac 5-in-1 Tool – This trowel will help you throughout the process from seeding, digging, raking and weeding. It’s even got a compost bag cutter! Perfect for the whole task.

The Darlac 5-in-1 Trowel

The Problem with Pots

Before digging into the normal container care rules, it’s worth checking for problems with your plants. You may notice discolouration on some leaves. This is an indication that the plant has come through winter and the colder season and is perhaps on the hungry side! Now is the perfect time to give your plants a little ‘breakfast’. Your plants will have been dormant over winter, and now they’re starting to wake up and they’ll need food.

For larger plants, or trees with heavy roots in a pot, you may want to try liquid feed. This is for plants that are well established and you know you can’t move without breaking the pot. You can use liquid seaweed for plants like this, as it’s got lots of nutrients and will give your plant a kick start. The good news is this feed can also be used on all plants. This is a good way to boost the plant before regular feeding starts throughout the summer. Lift the leaves and soak the soil with a water/liquid feed mix. Our friends at Mr Fothergill’s have a wonderful all-natural liquid plant tonic called Seasol that is ideal.

How to Spruce up Plant Containers

Loosen any moss that’s grown, as the moss can steal nutrients

At this time of year, you’ll need to ‘top dress’ your pots and containers. This means loosening any moss that’s grown and raking it off, as the moss can steal nutrients. There are a few more steps to the process and we’ll talk you through it.

Step 1 – Remove any moss from the container. You may also notice a few weeds, which will need removing too. We recommend the Darlac 5-in-1 Trowel for a task like this. It helps to scrape the moss, dig out weeds, and you can use it for raking, planting, and sowing too.

Step 2 – Remove the top layer of compost by an inch or so, as it may contain weed seeds that could have blown in over winter. You can add this to a bucket or throw it into a wheelbarrow and add it to your compost pile. It will rot down and add back to the garden.

Step 3 – Add a slow-release fertiliser. You can buy this in many forms, but granules work well. It is a controlled release, so it works well over a period of time to give your soil the feed it needs. You can buy it in garden centres, but our friends at Mr Fothergill’s also stock Perlite Compost Improver. Sprinkle the granules around the plant and evenly across your container or pot.

Add a slow release fertiliser to your containers

Step 4 – Using the fork element of your Darlac 5-in-1 Trowel, mix the granules into the soil. This will start the releasing process, as the fertiliser reacts when mixed with moist compost or soil and when the temperature rises. As the weather warms up, the granules will slowly release, feeding right down to the roots.

Step 5 – Finally, add a little fresh compost. A few handfuls should seal in the fertiliser, and makes it look a little tidier. You’ll notice your pots instantly look fresher and cleaner.

Tidy up old herbs plants to encourage further growth

If you’ve got old herbs plants in pots from last year, you can tidy those up too. First take off last year’s flower heads with a strong pair of secateurs. This will encourage intergrowth. Don’t be afraid to give them a good trim. If you find your herbs are quite ‘pot bound’, meaning they’ve been in the same pot for a couple of years, you may wish to re-pot them. Carefully knock the plant out of the pot and put it in a bigger pot, or even divide it. Sage plants often have dead leaves. Don’t worry about this, just give your plant a tidy up and take off the dead leaves.

There is lots you can do to prepare your containers and give them a much-needed spruce. You can feed them, top dress them with fertiliser and compost, trim them back, take off dead leaves – just to make sure all the plants growing in containers get off to a good start this season and continue to look good all through the summer.

Where to Buy Darlac Tools

Make life a little easier for yourself by using the right garden tool for the job. You can find our Darlac products in store from your local garden centre. Find your local Darlac stockist here.

If you enjoyed this blog post and the Pots & Trowels video, be sure to subscribe to Pots & Trowels on YouTube and to follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for weekly practical videos all about gardening.

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