However, two things are crucial to the success of this project: using a large pot and having a ‘thriller’ plant. Let’s start with the pot.
A large pot full of soil will dry out more slowly after watering than a tiny one, so find a pot you love the look of but be sure it’s the largest one available. Fill the bottom 10cm with coarse gravel and cover with a piece of flyscreen to stop the potting mix moving south and blocking the drainage holes, then add the potting mix, leaving yourself room to manoeuvre the plants. Get the best mix you can and don’t be tempted to use garden soil, which will pack down and repel water, causing it to run down the insides of the pot and out the holes.
Now it’s time to talk plants. Any stunning large pot relies on a ‘thriller’ plant. This plant has to be gorgeous enough on its own to stop people in their tracks, so let’s use Tropicanna® Canna original, Tropicanna® Gold or Tropicanna® Black. The foliage is bold, broad and striped in gorgeous hues. One is enough for our pot, so we set it off-centre and towards the back and kept the number of different supporting-cast ‘filler’ and ‘spiller’ plants to two or three. Nestle your other plants in and around the main feature, arranging them while still in their pots until you find the right place for each. A great mixed container design comes down to a ‘thriller’ plant, which is often a big, bold and beautiful plant at the top of the composition; a ‘filler’, usually a midlevel plant that softens and complements the ‘thriller’; and a ‘spiller’, a tumbler or trailer over the edge of the pot that provides lower level personality, texture and a finished look.
When you do end up planting your final selection, make sure you fill the pockets around and in between all the plants and aim to have each plant’s original potted surface level with each other and about 10cm below the pot’s rim. Scatter over some mulch and don’t forget to water the pot very well the first time so everything is set up and ready to grow. How easy was that?
For more information, visit the Anthony Tesselaar Plants website: www.tesselaar.com