Higher density living means the big backyard is a thing of the past for many people in Australia, but people are turning to pots to keep trees and plants in their lives.
Nursery & Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) has noticed a strong trend towards container gardening, not just for small plants and vegetables but also for trees, for courtyards, balconies and small gardens.
“Many tree and shrub varieties grow quite successfully in containers. Apart from a much more attractive outlook than a fence or neighbouring building, they provide shade, better air quality and privacy,” said the CEO of NGIA, Mr Robert Prince.
“It is sad to see such limited individual green space in urban developments which highlights the need for public spaces with trees to provide all the environmental, social and financial benefits they offer.
“But it is encouraging that the community is keen to improve their plant life balance. We are witnessing a strong growth in edible gardens and tree planting, even in pots,” Mr Prince added.
“We are seeing the growth of green walls and roofs in inner city areas and developers and owners are seeing the value that plants including trees can add to a property.”
What are the important considerations if you want to do your part to increase the urban forest and grow trees in pots? NGIA recommends:
- Speak to the experts at your local garden centre or read up on the varieties best suited to your area and to container planting
- Take into account the aspect of your courtyard or balcony – how much sun you get will influence what kinds of plants and trees are suited.
- Select a good-sized container – bigger than you think the tree needs now, so that it grows into it as well as grows up. There are also some containers that have a built in water reservoir
- Agree on the best spot on your balcony or in your courtyard and put your pot there before you start – rather than have to move it later
- Prepare the container well – good drainage at the bottom and a quality potting mix with a wetting agent and or water saving crystals. There are potting mixes for different kinds of plants – once again the people at your local garden centre can advise you
- ‘Plant’ your tree in the pot and spread some compost, woodchips or pebbles on the surface of the potting mix to keep in moisture
- Don’t forget them once they are underway – a little fertiliser, watering and pruning will keep them in shape and growing well.
NGIA suggests that many varieties are suited to container planting, both ornamental and fruitful. “Citrus are very suited to container growing, so they offer the bonus of fresh lemons, oranges or other citrus,” said Mr Prince.
Interview: CEO Robert Prince on (02) 8861 5100 or Green PR – 0414562010