Aftercare

HOW WE PUT TOGETHER YOUR PLANTERS

container garden

Zintec Steel Planter (powder coated or galvanized) - made from steel coated with zinc to increase corrosion resistance. They are sun and frost resistant and come with a 10-year guarantee.

 

Coir Lining - coir is a byproduct of the coconut harvest made from the hard, fibrous husks. It is pressed into a matting which we use for a double layer to insulate the planters and the roots of the plants against cold and heat. It also acts as a filter to prevent the leach of compost.

 

Planting Medium - we create a balanced peat-free compost made up from bark, leafmould, Black Fenland soil, green compost, trace elements and coco coir. We introduce special ingredients to fertilise the plants, encourage healthy root growth and increase water absorption.

 

Drainage holes to allow excess rainwater to escape.

 

LECA (lightweight extracted clay aggregate) - this is commonly used in hydroponics as the clay expands and absorbs water. We apply a layer at the bottom of the planter where the reservoir tank sits and gradually mix it through the planting medium. This not only increases water absorption and supports better drainage, it also aerates the compost allowing the roots to access more oxygen.

 

Water Reservoir Tank - this is a sealed reservoir tank placed under the roots of the plants which is the most effective way they get the water they want. It is filled from a single tube and as it only needs to be filled every 2 weeks or so, you can leave home for a holiday knowing your plants will be happy and well-watered.

 

Pea-shingle - we leave a layer of pea shingle on the surface of the planting medium. This helps to retain moisture and prevents organic matter being blown out of the planter in the wind.

 

wind


One of the main problems for plants on balconies and roof terraces is the wind. The wind dehydrates the leaves of the plants more quickly than the roots are able to replace the water. As a result broadleaf plants with delicate leaves will struggle to survive. We carefully choose species and varieties of plants that we know have a strong chance of survival. We sometimes place more delicate plants around the base of stronger, evergreen plants which gives them a chance to establish and clamber among them. 

 

 

photosynthesis

 

How to look after your new container garden

 

In this guide we aim to give you as much knowledge as you need to make sure your plants and planters look at their best all year round.

 

If you still have questions don’t hesitate to call us for advice.

 

Kit you will need for your container garden

 

watering can

The bigger the watering can, the fewer trips to refill it. One full can should fill 2 reservoir tanks. You need the rose for watering the surface of the planting medium in hot weather.

hose

You can also use a hose attached to your kitchen tap with a special fitting. This makes watering really simple and quick.

gloves

Fitted rubber and fabric skin tight gloves give you most flexibility and sensitivity when working with your plants.

secateurs

You need secateurs for pruning back your plants and shaping their growth, the pointed snips are essential for tidying and more delicate work. 

dustpan and brush

It’s always useful to have a dustpan and brush. The old fashioned bristle brushes are better for getting bits out from the decking and under the planter. You can use a soft cloth to wipe your planters clean.

hori hori

A hori hori is a wonderful japanese tool. It’s shape and size make it ideal for working in the confined space of containers, prising out roots and planting. You can also use a more traditional fork and trowel for container gardening.

 

HOW & WHEN TO WATER

 

The reservoir tanks prevent water draining out of the planters, so it’s important not to overfill the tank, so once the water comes to the top of the filling tube, stop. The frequency of filling the tanks will depend on the size of the planter and the time of year. From April to October, you should be filling the tanks every 1-2 weeks depending on how hot the weather is. The rest of the year it can vary from 3-6 weeks.

 

You must not think that because it has been raining that your plants won’t need watering. The reservoir tank is a carefully controlled system and your plants will use any rain as an added bonus if they need it.

 

In especially dry weather, you can use the finger test to check if the upper layers of compost have dried out which will affect smaller plants. If you poke your index finger in as deep as it goes and it comes out dry with nothing on it, you should water the surface using the rose attached to the watering can. Don’t overdo it. Enough water to make it moist will do. You don’t want excess water draining from the planters.

 

INSECTS

 

Good

 

bees

We hope that the flowering plants you have will encourage pollinating insects but this does depend on how high up you are. You’ll be amazed how resourceful insects can be.

 

Bad

 

insects

Fortunately you won’t suffer the same problems as most people with gardens. But insect pests do have a habit of finding their way to you no matter where you are. They may have found their way as eggs into the plants during transit or at the nurseries where they are grown.

snail

Snails are unlikely to be a big problem, we suggest throwing them somewhere the birds can enjoy them as a juicy meal.

aphid

Aphids like whitefly and greenfly lay their eggs and overwinter on plants. You very often don’t see them until it’s too late. We recommend a solution of washing up detergent and water or a general bug spray to be sprayed on the new green shoots of plants when the days become warm in Spring.

weevil

Weevils and beetles are unlikely to be a problem. But they chomp at leaves very obviously so if you think something is eating your plants, you should check with an expert.

 

PRUNING, SHAPING & CUTTING BACK

 

It is quite normal for parts of plants to die off. The best way to help your plant be healthy is to cut dead leaves and branches away. This will make sure they use up all their energy for the healthy bits. 

 

shaped plants

If you have shaped plants like topiary balls and cones, or shaped dwarf conifers. You need to trim them before or after the main growing season in summer. Don’t worry about being bold, plants like to be pruned, as it encourages them to grow stronger next year. 

pruning

Whenever a plant has stopped flowering, you should always cut away the dead flower heads. This will bring them back even better next year and will also keep your planters looking at their best. 

 

ENJOYING YOUR OUTDOOR SPACE WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS

 

water dripping

The way the planters are designed should ensure there is only minimal water draining from them. Take care not to overwater your planters.

bbq on a balcony

For obvious reasons it’s not a good idea to have any open flames on a balcony.

hanging plants

Be careful not to have things hanging over the balcony on a windy an apartment block. 

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