Allowing to have one’s garden at hand even for urban gardeners, the culture in ceramic pot is more constraining than the culture in open ground. How to succeed in growing plants in ceramic pots, and for which plants?
10 plants to put in a ceramic pot
1. The saskatoon tree
Shrub of the rosaceae family, the serviceberry is very appreciated on a terrace for its abundant and light spring bloom. Its star-shaped flowers in clusters form a white or creamy cloud around the shrub.
Its shiny deciduous foliage is born bronze green, turns dark green as an adult, then becomes flamboyant before dying. Saskatoons produce edible berries, which are widely consumed in Canada and are eaten rather cooked. Its shape and size vary greatly depending on the variety.
The flowering of Cenote is dazzlingly generous, the shrub is literally covered with blue or indigo flowers. The flowering period varies from spring to summer, depending on whether the Cenote is deciduous or evergreen.
The number of species makes it possible to always find a cenote adapted to our desires! Some prefer mild climates, others are more rustic, they measure from 1 to 8 meters high and 0.50 to 8 meters wide depending on the species, but in any case they are very sensitive to limestone and stagnant moisture.
3. The orange tree of Mexico
The very perfumed bloom of this shrub is not its only charm, even if its small simple white flowers, grouped in tops and appearing before the summer then going up in September would be enough to embellish your terrace or your balcony. Its evergreen and glossy foliage is also a beautiful asset, with its rounded habit.
Some cultivars have golden foliage, such as ‘Aztec Gold’ or the classic ‘Sundance’. The orange tree of Mexico appreciates a rather sunny or half-shade exposure and measures from 1m to 5m high and 1 to 1m50 wide.
The daphne offers us, once is not customary, a pretty winter bloom, perfumed moreover. A perfume, exotic, flowery, very intense, enough to forget that we are in full winter! Its flowers are colored of white and sometimes of pink and are renewed during several weeks.
The species Daphne odora is the most fragrant and evergreen (the leaves are deciduous or evergreen depending on the species), and its flowering starts in December. Daphne are small shrubs, at most 1m50 high and 1m25 wide, which like exposure to shade or sun depending on the species.
5. The witch hazel ‘Pallida’
The winter flowering of this shrub with a spread out port is particularly original. Its fragrant sulfur-yellow flowers with long and fine spider petals, gathered in bunches, appear before the foliage and have earned the witch hazel the nickname “Witch Hazel”.
The autumn colors of this one are flamboyant. The witch hazel ‘Pallida’ measures 4m in all directions and appreciates the sun or semi-shade and a light soil rather acidic and rich in humus. Rustic shrub, its flowering is exacerbated by the cold.
6. The hydrangea
With its spectacular and magnificent flowering from May to September, to which is added a deciduous or semi evergreen foliage which takes beautiful colors in autumn, the hydrangea is a sure value for your terrace. Its inflorescences, flat or ball-shaped, are composed of small flowers whose color varies, not only according to the species but also according to the nature of the soil, acidic earth turning their hue blue.
The colors of hydrangeas range from pure white to dark red pink, through all ranges of pink and blue. The flowers can be star-shaped, with curved and rounded petals, bicolored, there is something for everyone! This shrub of about 1m50 has a preference for semi-shade and a mild climate.
7. The loropetal
Shrub with spring flowering, the loropetal highlights a harmonious composition between its purple foliage and a flowering in shades of pink, red or purple (although the typical species has a pure white bloom on dark green foliage). These flowers all tous tous tousffouriffées are very abundant. The foliage is evergreen to semi evergreen and changes color throughout the year.
The Loropetalum chinense forms a bush with spread out port, from 3 to 15 ft in height for 6 to 10 ft wide according to cultivars. A sheltered and sunny exposure suits it, but it also adapts to mid-shade.
8. The andromeda of Japan
A superb spring bloom of small bells in clusters going from white to pink or red, a very colorful and changing evergreen foliage, the pieris is a perfect shrub to decorate terraces or balconies throughout the year.
Its small size, about 4 ft high and 2 ft wide, makes it very easy to install, even on a small balcony where an exposure to the sun or half-shade will be perfect.
9. The Cape lace or plumbago
The long (from the beginning of the summer until October) and generous bloom of this shrub with the semi evergreen foliage is very romantic, with its very simple blue flowers grouped in panicles.
The plumbago has a drooping habit, which can be trellised on a pergola or a fence. It can, thus cultivated, go up to several meters, otherwise, left as a bush in its natural form, it is between 1 and 2 meters wide and high. Native to Africa, this shrub is cold and loves the sun.
10. The snowball vine
Between May and June, this vine produces magnificent white inflorescences similar to snowballs, and in autumn, the foliage comes into play, taking on a surprising wine-color. This bushy, rounded shrub with deciduous foliage is as tall as it is wide and likes exposure to sun or mid-shade.
Which ceramic pot to choose?
Ceramic pot size and shape
Always choose the pot according to the speed of growth and the size of the plant you want to grow in it. Also take into account the shape of the root system: if it is pivoting, prefer a pot that is higher than it is wide, on the contrary, if it is tracing, a ceramic pot that is wider than it is high will be very suitable.
Rare are the plants which appreciate to grow in cramped conditions, when repotting, a pot with a diameter larger than the original one should be granted. If you don’t have time to repot every year, plan from the start a pot that is big enough.
Generally speaking, small perennials, biennials and annuals are grown in small pots or planters, while shrubs or fruit trees thrive much better in large pots. Trees grown in undersized ceramic pots will remain small, but this can have advantages.
The container must always be pierced at the bottom to ensure proper drainage of the water and to avoid asphyxiation of the roots.
Some plants are very sensitive to excess water, especially succulents, cacti, and other xerophytic plants. In this case, it is preferable to opt for an unglazed terracotta pot that facilitates gas exchange and evaporation. For these plants, absolutely avoid pots with water reserve, which are not suitable for all plants!
Which substrate for a ceramic pot culture?
The low volume of soil in the pot implies the choice of a rich substrate except for rare cases of plants preferring very poor and drained substrates.
A good universal potting soil enriched with compost is ideal for the majority of plants, however some acidophilic plants will need heather soil (camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons…), and others will appreciate a well-draining potting soil (Mediterranean plants).
If you wish to create a composition, check that the plants have the same needs before combining them in the same container (nature of the substrate, exposure and water and fertilizer needs).
The constraints of ceramic pot culture
Watering must be particularly well controlled in the case of a potted crop because the volume of substrate is reduced, the plant quickly draws water and evaporation does the rest! If the weather is sunny, very hot and windy, it may be necessary to water the most water-hungry plants at least twice a day!
If you don’t have time for watering and you don’t like cacti that can tolerate a few missed waterings, there are solutions such as adding water traps in the substrate, mulching with aesthetically pleasing materials that will add a decorative touch to your ceramic potted garden, or simply installing automatic drip watering in each pot.
Don’t forget to adapt watering to the needs of each plant and never leave water stagnant in the pots!
Plants grown in ceramic pots have high fertilization needs. They draw nutrients from the substrate very quickly, and they cannot spread their roots as they would in the open ground to look for them further. They therefore need a supply of fertilizer, if possible organic rather than chemical, such as crushed horn powder, dried blood, guano or crushed edge powder. There are also organic fertilizers in liquid form, which are very practical and can be added to the irrigation water like conventional liquid fertilizers.
Terraces and balconies are an integral part of our interiors, we like to decorate them and to place there plants that are dear to us and that will participate in our well-being, by their perfume, the beauty of their flowers or their foliage. We present you 10 plants which will sublimate your ceramic pots.