Terracotta Garden Pots

By slipping a few different-sized pots one inside the other, you can form a tower of colourful flowers and foliage that is ingenious and inexpensive to create.

Ready-made tower pots and herb pots with holes in the sides are expensive, and it is often difficult to find the size you are looking for, as choice is limited. But you can make something similar quite easily.

Ingenious idea

By slipping a few plain flower pots, one inside the other, it couldn’t be easier to build your own tower pot, creating a sizeable feature at relatively little expense. Each pot is sunk half way into a slightly larger pot, so forming a tower. The plants are planted in the space around each pot, creating a fountain of colour.

Ideal for summer bedding

A tower pot lends itself well for use with Summer bedding plants, especially the trailing varieties which soften the hard edges of the pots.

Choose from Trailing Geraniums, Brachycomes, Ivies, the many forms of Verbena, the well-known Lobelia and sunny Nasturtiums for the sides; using a bushier plant at the top of the tower, such as an Osteospermum, Gazania or a group of dainty Busy Lizzies.

A question of watering

Careful watering is important with this design, especially if the pots you use are terracotta, as moisture will soak through each pot from the compost in the pot below. Before each watering, sink your fingers into the compost in the bottom pot for an indication of how much water to give at the top; adjust the amount accordingly.


The right dimensions

Choosing the right pots to create the tower is all important. Make sure you have at least three different-sized pots, and check that each pot will fit inside the next largest pot with quite a lot of room to spare, providing enough space to plant a good range of bedding plants. Leave a gap of at least 10cm (4in) on all sides for the plants.

As high as you like

You can build the tower as high as you like, but remember that the smallest pot must be large enough to contain at least one plant comfortably. The larger the bottom pot, the taller the finished tower can be.


Place a good handful of large crocks, such as pieces of broken clay flower pot or tiles, into the bottom of the largest pot, making sure that you cover the drainage hole to prevent compost from being washed out. Repeat for the other pots.

If you are planting Summer annuals in the pots, use a free-draining compost, if necessary adding up to a third by volume of horticultural grit. Fill the largest pot to about half-way with the compost and firm down thoroughly.

Take the medium-sized pot and stand it on the compost inside the large pot. Add or remove compost until it protrudes about 15cm (6in) above the rim of the larger pot. Check that the medium pot is standing level and not leaning at all.

Plant a selection of trailing plants, such as Ivy and Verbena, in the large pot in the space around the edges of the medium pot, where they will trail down and soften the edges. Fill the remaining space between them with more compost and firm lightly.

Completing the Tower

Fill the medium-sized pot to about half-way with compost, firm thoroughly, then place the small pot inside it, positioning as before. Plant up the available space in the medium pot with more trailing plants, such as the Brachycomes.

Before planting the topmost pot, check that all the pots are held securely in place by the compost in the pot below. If any of the pots can be wobbled, pack more compost around it, taking care not to damage the roots of the plants.

Half-fill the top pot with compost and firm it lightly. Remove the plant you have chosen for the top position from its original pot, taking care not to damage its roots. Lower it into position, adding more compost and firming around it gently.

Water the plants thoroughly, making sure that all the compost in all of the pots is moistened. Use a watering can fitted with a fine rose to prevent compost from being washed over the edges of the pots by a heavy stream of water.

26. June 2013 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Fruit Trees | Comments Off on Terracotta Garden Pots


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