If you have a small garden but would like the added height and interest of a tree, particularly one that puts on a show of spring blossom, then consider growing one in a suitable outdoor planter. Small trees provide all year round interest, with blossom in spring, often followed by summer fruits and autumn colour. In winter once the leaves have fallen, bare branches are the main attraction. When grown in a pot they are ideal for patios, decking or terraces. Here is a short guide on how to plant a small blossom tree in a container and some of the best specimens to buy.
Choose a Good Planter
Start by choosing a planter that best suits the style of your garden. Materials can be determined by taste, money and movability. For instance, stone planters can be expensive and heavy but will last for years and have a timeless style suitable for all types of garden. Modern materials such as fibreglass are more lightweight and can effectively imitate more traditional and expensive materials fairly cheaply. Make sure the container you buy is large enough to accommodate the root ball of your tree. Avoid placing a very small tree into a large container. Instead pot up your tree in stages as it grows. Make sure your container has plenty of drainage holes.
Caring for Potted Trees
There are a few considerations to remember in caring for potted trees. Make sure you use a loam-based compost when planting and place plenty of broken china or gravel in the bottom of the pot beforehand to aid drainage. Once planted, your tree will benefit from an annual top layer of compost with a handful of slow release fertiliser mixed in. Trees grown in outdoor planters will require more watering than those planted in the ground so keep the compost moist but not over wet.
- Amelanchier lamarckii or June Berry is a lovely little tree that has showy white blossom in early spring followed by purple fruit in summer and golden autumn leaves. It grows to a height of 6m.
- Malus Evereste or flowering crabapple trees have stunning pink blossom in spring, followed by red and orange fruit and yellow/bronze leaves in autumn. Eventual height 4m.
- Dwarf flowering cherry trees such as Prunus Little Pink Perfection, make the perfect patio tree. It has double pink blossom in spring and the foliage turns a stunning orange/red in autumn. Height 3m.
- Also try starry magnolia trees or Magnolia Stellata. They produce a mass of fragrant star-shaped flowers in spring, glossy foliage and grow to a height of only 2m.
Source: Jo Poultney