How to Grow a Container Garden

A 6 minute read by Peter Worsp

Growing in containers opens a whole new gardening opportunity - excellent for small spaces as pots and containers add colour and interest as well as the plants.

The easy way to maximise space and add strong focal points to gardens, patios and entrances. New resin lightweight pots in stock, regular new deliveries of pots, and lots of hanging baskets, some already planted up + a good range of empty baskets and liners.

Hint – too many small pots can make a for a cluttered look. We suggest you have less pots but bigger ones. That way you get more options as to what can be grown in them - and big pots don’t dry out as quickly.  

Make sure you use a good quality potting mix that has water granules in it, and of course keep pots watered regularly. We suggest twice a week on the same days, that way you know exactly where you are.


  • Excellent for small gardens e.g. flats, units, apartments
  • Soften paved areas
  • Create a focal point in the garden
  • Can be moved easily
  • Provide interest at different heights e.g. hanging baskets
  • The pots and containers add colour and interest as well as the plants
  • Restrain growth of plants that would otherwise grow too big in the garden
  • Almost any plant can be grown in pots and containers

Soil Mixes

  • Do not use garden soil in pots and containers
  • For outdoor containers use
    • Tui Pot Power
  • For indoor pots use
    • KiwiCare Gro-Sure Houseplant Potting Mix
  • Use specialist mixes for certain plants
    • African Violet Mix
    • Cacti and Succulent Mix
    • Bulb Mix
    • Orchid Mix


  • Container grown plants have a restricted root system and a limited supply of nutrients in the mix
  • Good drainage and frequent watering mean plant nutrients are lost more quickly
  • Feed small amounts of food regularly to keep plants growing strong
  • Apply fertiliser to moist soil mix

Fertiliser Types

  • Slow or controlled release
    • iCan Slow Food, Tui Pots & Container Fertiliser, Novatec
    • Slow release fertilisers are easy and safe to use, they will not burn plant roots
    • They need to be applied 2-3 times per year
  • Liquid / soluble powder
    • Nitrosol
    • iCan Fast Food
    • Thrive
    • Phostrogen
    • These need to be mixed with water before applying
    • Apply only to damp soil
    • Fast acting
    • Need to be applied more often, every 10-14 days during growing season


  • The size of the container and the size of the plant will affect the amount of water available to the plant
  • On hot summer days daily watering will be necessary
  • Small pots and hanging baskets may need water twice daily
  • Water thoroughly, fill the gap between the top of the potting mix and the top of the pot with water and allow to soak through the pot and drain out the bottom
  • Use watering wand or soft spray nozzle
  • If mix dries out it can be difficult to water, the water tends to run off
    • Add Saturaid wetting agent to mixes when planting to avoid this
    • Add Yates Waterwise water storage crystals to mix when potting up
      These hold and store water which becomes available to the plant when the potting mix dries out. This does not replace the need for watering

Pests and Diseases

  • Container plants can be susceptible to the same pests and diseases as the garden
  • Key ones to watch for are
    • Snails, caterpillars, scale, mealy bugs, mites, aphids
    • Mildew, black spot, blights

Pest and Disease Control

  • Insects
    • Neem Oil
    • Mavrik
  • Mites
    • Mavrik
  • Blackspot - Freeflo Copper
  • Blights
    • Enspray99 Oil

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