Gardening in Tubs and Urns
Tubs or urns are classic garden ornaments, useful for display in the terrace, roof garden, backyard, veranda and on the doorsteps. Tubs and urns are portables and hence can be used for temporary decoration indoors or elsewhere. Ornamental plants displayed in these decorative containers at suitable places look beautiful. Even an ordinary plant grown in tub or urn will provide a focal point to your garden by creating unity by dominance.
The Material Used for Tubs and Urns:
- A variety of materials are available which can be used as tubs or urns.
- The tub or the jar can be made of timber or preferably of brick, concrete or carved out of stone.
- Metal ornamental urns look beautiful in the terrace, near the staircase, or even inside the house. Tubs and urns of different shapes and designs can be made from fine grade concrete.
- Wooden tubs are best suited for the hot sunny position. Rot resistance woods, i.e., teak, oak, and poplar are best suited for this purpose. In addition to this rot-resistant woods should be treated with rot-resistant chemicals, i.e., Cuprinol.
- Wooden or cement tubs are painted to match with the color of the house.
- All tubs should stand on their leg or should be placed over bricks for easy drainage. Each tub or urn should have one or more drainage holes.
- The primary criterion in selecting the tub is to ensure that it holds sufficient amount of soil and have provision for proper drainage; though a container without drainage hole is useful if sufficient drainage material such as gravel is put at the bottom and overwatering is avoided.
Growing Plants in Tubs and Urns:
- Potting soil: The potting mixture generally used for regular pots can be used for tubs or urns.
- Manuring: The tub plants need frequent manuring, and it is advisable to feed them with liquid manure every fortnight or so depending upon the type of plant. Besides this, each tub has to be top dressed with fresh compost every six months or once a year. This is done by scrapping out 7-15 cm of the used topsoil and replacing this with new compost.
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- Replanting/ repotting: All plants in tubs or urns need to be replanted every two or three years to replenish plant food. In India, under tropical climate, repotting should be done during the rainy season. But in a milder climate like that of Bangalore and Pune, this can be extended till December or January. Repotting should be avoided during summer.
- Watering: Frequency of watering depends on the weather, type of plant and size of the tub. Plants like Bougainvillea and Jasmine need dry conditions at the time of flowering.
Plants Suitable for Tubs and Urns:
- Annuals: African marigold, chrysanthemum, sunflower, hollyhock and so on.
- Bulbous plants: Canna, Bird of paradise, and Datura.
- Foliage plants: Fatsia, Aralia, Dracaena, Yucca and so on.
- Shrubs: Hibiscus, Oleander, Lantana, Camellia, Azalea, and Bougainvillea.
- Ferns: Boston fern, Bird’s nest, Nephrolepis and so on
- Palms: Most of the ornamental palms.
- Trees: Araucaria cookii, Brassia actinophylla and so on.
- Topiary: Tubs offer an excellent opportunity for exhibiting topiary and espaliering work.
Further Reading: This Is How You Can Do Topiary Gardening!