Summer pots are traditionally the home of bedding plants and half-hardy patio plants, but many other types of plant can be grown in pots with great success adding extra impact and interest to summer displays. Small trees, shrubs, climbers, grasses, fruit, vegetables and herbs can all be grown in pots. Growing plants in containers is ideal for small gardens, patios, balconies and driveways and a great way of having a low-maintenance garden.

Herbaceous perennials are usually grown in borders, but smaller varieties look great grown in pots too.
Grow them in pots of moist, but well-drained multipurpose compost or tub and basket compost.

Generally speaking, the leaves and stems of herbaceous plants die back over winter and re-emerge in spring, year after year. Some, such as, heucheras, will hang on to their colourful leaves all winter. Herbaceous perennials are undemanding plants that simply need cutting back to ground level any time between autumn and early spring. At The Mains of Drum there are lots of herbaceous plants to choose from and many look great in pots, including these hardy favourites:

Hardy geranium
Dwarf asters

Roses are at their best now and repeat-flowering roses will flower all summer until the first hard frosts of autumn. Small roses, like miniature and patio roses, patio climbing roses and standard roses do very well in pots.
Patio roses are neat, robust, bushy floribunda-style roses that are larger than miniature and smaller than bush roses. They generally grow to no more than 60cm (2ft) tall. Patio roses are ideal for pots – choose from our beautiful collection here at The Mains of Drum.
Grow them in pots of moist, but well-drained soil-based compost, like John Innes No.3. Choose a sheltered sunny spot for your roses. 

Dahlias will also reward you with non-stop colourful flowers all summer until the first frosts. They are loved by bees and make excellent cut flowers. We have many to choose from including the Patio Dahlia Collection and the ‘Dreamy’ series – the dazzling flowers contrast well against their dark foliage.
There are also compact dahlias, which are ideal for smaller pots and window boxes, for example the vibrant ‘Goldalia’ series and the tiny ‘Dahlini’ Series.
Grow them in pots of moist, but well-drained soil-based compost, like John Innes No.3. Protect against slugs.

  • Roses and dahlias do well with plenty of organic matter mixed into the compost – we have bags of farmyard manure in stock.

  • Never let the compost dry out; it should be kept moist. When watering, water thoroughly by drenching the pot until water runs out of the drainage holes. Over watering is very damaging to plants. Make sure your pots drain well so that excess water can drain away easily. Never leaves pots standing in saucers of water. Crocks or small stones placed over the drainage holes helps to prevent them clogging up. On hard surfaces, raise pots up on to pot feet to allow excess water to escape.

  • Feed your plants. Potting compost has enough fertiliser in it to last about 6 weeks, unless it contains a slow-release fertilizer. A regular feed that is high in potash (e.g. Tomorite, Phostrogen or Toprose) will encourage more flowers.

  • Remove faded flower heads to encourage more to form.

Enjoy your glorious summer displays and don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!

Dr Jane Bingham

24 th June 2016