Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket Gardening: Pottering with giant plants

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: I was recently asked about suitable terrestrial plants for large, even giant-sized pots. These glazed pots are hand-crafted by traditional methods, and are objets d’art in their own right. Not to be upstaged by mere plants. So what principles apply?

First, preserve the integrity of the container by ensuring it is not camouflaged, or covered up by untidy festoons of pendant blooms and foliage. Petunias look wonderful hanging from baskets. Leave them there. Equally, vines are less than ideal since they become straggly, and will ultimately need a supporting structure.

These artificial additions are unlikely to enhance the lines of the pot. It is unwise to consider plants that have tap-roots (most members of the fig family, for example) since they will be constantly frustrated by their lack of access to deep-lying water.

Or plants, which have huge root systems such as bamboo, which will rapidly outgrow even giant containers. Discount too, plants which droop as soon as their supply of water is exhausted (gardenias, zingibers).

Any shrub that develops into a small tree will certainly make the pot unstable in high winds.

It may, moreover, detract from the aesthetic appeal of the pot. Conversely, a small shrub may look lost in a giant pot.

Too many “don’ts”, you will say. Okay, here are some “dos”.

Do
consider shrubs: they are woody plants that live for many years. Some establish a permanent tree-like structure, then increase in size by sending out new branches from older ones. Others, probably less suitable, send out woody stems (canes) from the base as the older stems decline. Shrubs, like pots, may be rounded, vase-shaped, conical, pyramidal or columnar.

And they should complement the container both by being the right shape, and, by being neither too big nor too small. Foliage preferably evergreen is often more important than flowering capacity. Also the plant’s ability to tolerate clipping, either to create a neater shape (as in topiary), or to prevent the shrub from becoming too large. Less of a problem with pots since the dimensions of the root ball will largely determine the size and require only occasional watering.

Among conventional woody shrubs, the range is endless. Here in Thailand, locals favor the fragrant wrightia religiosa,, but I find this shrub too sparsely leaved. Murraya is better and prunes easily. Ixoras, particularly the larger cultivars, look good in containers, have attractive foliage, and come in various colors. Bougainvilleas are also a sensible choice, especially those which have been grafted to produce several different hued bracts.

They will, however, definitely need to carefully pruned. Try the upright, white-flowering plumeria known here as leelawadee luxon. Dracaenas, corylines and crotons all possess dramatic, multi-colored foliage. Among palms, lady palms (rhapis) or bamboo palms look splendid in pots, and require little maintenance.

If you are thinking about potted plants for homes elsewhere on this planet, you might consider conifers such as chaemaecyparis obtusa (cedars), which have distinctive, evergreen foliage, and rarely grow more than three or four feet tall. Or bay trees. Forms of the Japanese maples (acer palmatum) produce leaves which are often red in spring, green in summer and red again in the fall. Beautiful.

Tip of the week: May your New Year be fruitful
The term fruit refers to the product of a plant’s reproductive system.

Most, but by no means all, are produced by trees.

Shrubs that bear edible fruit include the caramba or country gooseberry, the roselle (hibiscus sabdariffa) whose small red fruits are made into a refreshing drink popular with Thais, and the pomegranate (punica granatum), which is full of flesh-covered seeds, and usually ends up as vitamin-rich juice.

Fruits range in style from a fleshy berry (mulberry), a drupe with a hard interior pit or stone such as a mangosteen, lansium or langsart, rambudan, to a pome (think apples, guavas).

There are also nuts with a hard outer shell such as coconuts, and legumes, which produce pods (tamarind, sator, senna).

Oddly, the peanut is a legume.

Not all are fruits are edible and some are in fact toxic: for example the drupe of thevetiana (yellow oleander).

If you have a question or a garden that you would like featured, you can email the author here.

Keep checking our online
Phuket Lifestyle pages or join our Facebook fan page for regular gardening features and tips.

— Patrick Campbel

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Koh Samui4 hours ago

UPDATED: Samui Covid-19: 14 new Black Club infections, 2nd small cluster

Thailand5 hours ago

40,000 cases a day could happen by September, says projection

Phuket5 hours ago

Phuket Sandbox Covid-19 infections: 35 today, 209 this week

Sponsored2 days ago

Experience Phuket’s Islands with 5 Star Marine

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand6 hours ago

Prayut says he will not resign, warns politicians to behave

Thailand7 hours ago

Bangkok Train market to possibly close for good

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

Border between Kanchanaburi and Myanmar closed until…

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand8 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: 18,912 infections, provincial totals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

PCD says don’t throw away used masks in water bottles after infections linked to bottles

Thailand10 hours ago

Government says it’s okay to criticise them, if it’s fact based

Thailand11 hours ago

Bangkok volunteer group “Sai Mai Will Survive” overwhelmed with calls

Coronavirus (Covid-19)12 hours ago

Phuket reservations slow down for August

Thailand15 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 18,912 infections, news briefs

Drugs21 hours ago

Police nab 600kg heroin drug bust, year’s biggest in Northeast

Koh Samui1 day ago

Koh Samui unaccustomed to Covid-19, many act in dismay

Thailand1 day ago

Bangkok Airways extends flight suspension to August 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending