How to plant in a container

By: CONSTANCE OBONYO

Sometimes, plants in containers don’t turn out as attractive as you envisioned them either because the container overwhelms the plant or the plant grows so much that it covers up the container.

For a balanced look, a container must have a main plant in the middle, four stems of filler plants – two on either side of the main plant and spiller plants positioned around the edges. This way it looks fuller and there is no chance of seeing the soil in the container, but beautiful blooms.

Combining two plants

Hakim Babara, a compound designer and member of Mukwano Tree Planting Association situated along Mukwano Road in Nsambya recommends a two-plant combination; the pink agapanthus (Tulbaghia Violacea) and a local succulent called akawulira.

Although there are two plants instead of three, he says the pink agapanthus is the main plant (it is also a snake repellant) and the akawulira acts both as a filler, since it fills the unplanted parts of the container; and a spiller, since it spills over it in its manner of growth.

How to plant them

Propagate the pink agapanthus by dividing the bulb.

Use loam soil to plant it. It will take a month to mature and three months to produce seedlings. It is a perennial plant and will last for as long as you maintain it.

Propagate the akawulira using cuttings. It needs careful handling from the first step, because it rots easily.

It needs soil with more sand in it. Cut it and leave it for about a week, so that the sap can dry. Then put some sand on it. It will grow, but may take long, depending on how well you care for it,’ Babara explains.

Water it once a week. It does not need regular watering, or it will rot.

“It can take long to mature, but when the roots develop, it grows well. From the first step, it can take five months to mature. After rooting, it will have expanded in three months,” Babara concludes.

The cost

Pink agapanthus seedlings ranges from Shs5,000 to Shs10,000. The plant combination will cost you Shs30,000, including the pot.

A single seedling of akawulira costs Shs5,000. Many seedlings on a branch may cost you Shs8,000.

To choose your combination, consider the growth habit of the plant first. If it is erect, it will be best suited as a main plant.

If it is luxuriant, it will be best suited as filler; and if it is a creeper, it will be best suited as a spiller.

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