Annual Plants: Planter Ideas

Self-assembly, modular planters can be made into many shapes and are ideal for decorating an awkward corner or area of the patio, especially when filled with bright annuals.


Self-assembly modular planters are practical and flexible. They are robust enough to form a permanent feature that you can tailor to your own design, but are also easily dismantled and stored so that they can be used for temporary plant displays.

A bright idea

This type of planter makes an ideal container for annuals, especially if you only wish to create a display for the Summer months. The bright white plastic has a smart appearance that complements pastel shades of the likes of Stocks, Lobelia, Petunias, Geraniums, and Sweet Alyssum.

Fine foliage

Smaller designs are also ideal for use indoors, filled with a lush display of foliage houseplants, perhaps brightened up with some seasonal flowering plants. These types of planter tend not to be watertight, however, so will have to be lined with a strong layer of plastic sheeting.

Flexibility itself

Although each kit will only consist of a few types of pieces, there are many ways in which they can be fitted together to form a vast array of shapes. Self-assembly planters of this type can usually be purchased in many different-sized kits; here are some ideas for the manner in which they can be used.

Long trough

Straight side panels can be fitted together to form a trough, as long as you require, with rounded or straight ends. This would be suitable for standing along a wall, or it could be used as a windowbox on a wide ledge.

Simple shapes

Countless simple shapes can be made, including a circle, a square, a heart shape, a hexagon, or even a ‘cloud’.

Corner features

This system is ideal for filling a corner, making use of otherwise unusable space. Try an L-shaped design, or a triangular style for a larger feature.

Multi-tiered planters

Use the pieces to create any number of tiers, in any configuration, even covering a whole area of the patio, with sections at different heights.


Stack several modules on top of each other to form a tower that can be planted all the way up with a cascade of colour.

Tree-surround planter

Sections can be built around a tree-trunk to form a ready-made flower bed. Use the system without its feet for this.

How to Assemble a Garden Planter

The self-assembly planter consists of straight, bowed and half-round side panels, base pieces, and various pins and feet to hold the panels together. The first step is to decide upon the shape you wish to make, then slide the panels together accordingly.

Use a pin with a decorative finial for the joints which will not be topped by another section of the planter. For those that are to be joined to a section above, use a double-ended pin, leaving one end protruding upwards. Attach the feet to the bottoms of the pins.

Assemble the base plates, using the joining strips supplied, then slide them into the planter and adjust until the base is flat and level. If making a multi-level planter, assemble the upper section and fit it onto the bottom planter, using the protruding pins.

Before filling the planter with compost, put in a layer of drainage material, such as moisture-retentive pellets or crocks, spreading it out over the bases in an even layer. If you are using moisture-retentive pellets, make the layer about 2.5cm (1in) deep.

Filling the Planter

Most Summer annuals are best grown in a free-draining compost, so if necessary, add up to a quarter by volume of horticultural grit to improve the texture of the mixture.

For other types of plants, confirm the compost requirements before planting them.

Having half-filled the sections with compost, plant-up the top section. Use quite tall, erect specimens, such as Pelargonium, in the centre and trailing plants, such as Glechoma, to cascade down over the sides. Trailing plants will soften the hard lines of the planter.

Use pretty annual Stocks to fill up the lower compartments, softening the edges with Glechoma and Brachycome. Sweet Alyssum is ideal for introducing a splash of cool white. Fill the spaces between the plants with more compost and firm lightly all over.

As soon as you have finished planting, water the plants thoroughly, using a watering can fitted with a fine rose. Moisten the compost all over and continue to water until drips appear out of the bottom. Try not to knock the plants over with the spray of water droplets.

02. July 2013 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Fruit Trees | Comments Off on Annual Plants: Planter Ideas


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