October  Baskets and Tubs For Winter

Out with the Old
Early in October, clear all tubs, hanging baskets and window boxes of summer bedding plants. Prior to re-planting with winter and spring interest plants, replace the compost - old compost can hold disease and viruses.

In With The New
The key plants for containers over winter are evergreens (ivies for example), spring flowering bulbs, polyanthus, primroses, pansies and heathers (require an acid compost).

Picture of winter tub
Mixed planting of crocus, dwarf daffodils and variegated ivy

All can be planted now. Three easy to grow 'plant groups' are as follows:

Group 1
For colour - polyanthus, primrose, pansies
For fill-in - Variegated ivy (hedera), dwarf conifer

Group 2
For colour - daffodil, crocus, tulips, snowdrops
For fill-in - Variegated ivy (hedera), dwarf conifer
Click here for a detailed planting plan to maximise flowering period.

Group 3
For colour and interest - Heather (erica). Varieties Springwood White and Springwood Pink are exceptionally easy for beginners. Requires acid compost.

Example Planting Plan
The objective of the plan is to provide colour in the tub lasting a month or more. The planting plan is shown below, followed by the key to numbers.


tub planting plan

1. Anemone blanda
   Flowers February, planting depth 3cm

2. Crocus 
   Flowers March, planting depth 4cm

3. Iris reticulata
   Flowers February, planting depth 8cm

4. Daffodil (miniature)
   Flowers March, planting depth 12cm

5. Iris danfordiae
   Flowers February, planting depth 15cm

6. Hyacinth
   Flowers April, planting depth 15cm.

Plant up the container in early October, using moist potting compost. Do not allow the compost to dry out, but ensure that the container has drainage holes. 

Keep It Simpledaffodil planting tub
Mixing plant types in containers can produce spectacular winter and spring flowering displays. But beginners may want to keep planting to the easiest subjects. A simple planting of daffodils in a container will still provide a burst of colour in the spring which is well worthwhile.  Having success with a simple planting plan in the first year may well lead to more ambitious plans in the next year. 


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