How to Select Plants + Pots!

I just cannot keep my plants alive, I am hopeless so am the last person that should be giving advice for exterior week! So I decided to pick the brain of the lovely Dan from one of our favourite suppliers The Balcony Garden  for all of our pot and plant related questions. He is absolutely full of hot tips and tricks about types of plants to choose for certain areas and styles of pots available from their beautiful range. If you haven't checked them out already head over to The Balcony Garden, they are our go to guys for interior and exterior pots! 

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If your customers don’t have a green thumb, what is the most suitable, durable plant for indoors?

I would definitely say Devils’ Ivy - (Epipremnum aureum). This durable trailing climber will grow absolutely anywhere with minimal effort. It does hail from the Brazilian jungle, so loves a bit of humidity (think bathroom position for best results) but will tolerate almost anywhere inside with a bit of light. Give it a cupful of water once a week and watch it take over the room. Another favourite of mine would be a Monstera Deliciosa, I always seem to get great results from that plant. It does require a bit more attention than the devils ivy, but still very easy to grow. A lot of people ask us at The Balcony Garden about fiddle leaf figs, but to be honest these are not a beginner’s plant. Start with the above two before graduating to a fiddle! For a more direct lit spot indoors, I would also suggest a Raphis Palm. These work in full sun inside, but I find they can be temperamental to moving. So pick a spot and stick with it. They need a moderate amount of water, but are a great plant with a lot of foliage.

Again, if your customers don’t have a green thumb, what is the most suitable, durable plant for direct sunlight outdoors?

This one depends a little on the form you are after. For a structural/ tall plant use Olive tree, Magnolia ‘Teddy Bear’, or for something amazing a Dracena Draco. For a shrub form, think Crassula Blue Bird, Raphiolepsis Snow Maiden, Buxus Japonica or Euphorbia “Firesticks”. For a groundcover, or for underplanting in a garden bed, Senecio serpens ‘Blue Chalk Sticks’, or Dichondra Silver Falls.

What are the advantages of planting in individual pots vs. planter boxes?

Individual pots are an opportunity to showcase a beautiful plant and pot combo and create a focal point in a space. Mass planting in planter boxes will suit scenarios where you are looking to create a dense hedge or similar for screening the neighbours or creating rooms within your landscape.

What are the best type of plants for hanging pots?

I love Senecio radicans (String of Bananas), which is a succulent, so this translates to hardy. I would recommend these indoors. Just ensure they are in a sunny spot. For exterior spots, a favourite of mine is Dichondra Silver Falls, which has a beautiful blue grey tone that works really well against brick and most tones of painted, rendered walls. Again, this one needs a fair bit of sun.

What should customers purchase first… the pot or the plant?

I may be biased, but I do think beautifully style pots are hard to come by, so I would start by selecting one that you love. The Balcony Garden is full of them of course ;) . I just think there are so many more options with plants, that you will always find a plant to suit the pot, so it makes sense to start with the pot.

What are some general hot tips for caring for plants? I am known for either killing mine with love or neglecting them!

I do think that most people give their plants too much love and smother them. Don’t be a stage 5 clinger!  Read a bit about the plant you want to grow, then plant it in the right spot in regards to aspect (light, wind, salt factors). If you are planting into a pot, ENSURE you are letting the pot plant drain correctly. Most plants don’t like sitting with their roots in stagnant water.  Then, following the recommended watering and feeding cycle, let your plant establish itself. Then, observe. I think this is the most important thing. And observe weekly. Is it looking dry? Developing spots? Doing something else funny? If so, adjust your care from there. Also make friends with your local nursery – they know a lot and are very happy to share their knowledge of nutrient deficiency, pests and disease treatments etc.

Also remember that horticultural skills take time to develop and all of us never stop learning. So don’t give up if you struggle, see it as a learning process. You will learn and get better, and there is nothing better than knowing all your plants are thriving because of you. Work towards that.

From your range, which style of pot would you recommend for a contemporary Australian home?

Mostly anything from the Willow range will suit. The Straight up is an absolute favourite of mine.

From your range, which style of pot would you recommend to complement a more classic coastal look?

The weathered finish on our beautiful ‘Bad Names’ range could be a great pairing. Check out our friends Anfernee, Labronce or Bacardi. Alternatively the more refined Tommaso range may suit. Most people’s favourites there are the Corvara and Cortina. These are hand thrown Italian terracotta masterpieces.

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Catherine Heraghty