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Plants in Tubs and Pots

Climbing Plants in Pots In principle, all Climbing Plants can also be cultivated in tubs, especially Annual Plants. A separate section deals with Potted Grapevines. Often, the cultivation of perennial plants in containers is a compromise, because they don't produce the desired foliage density, flowers or fruits, and overwintering is not straightforward.

Mandevilla are ideal pot plants for outside

Plant Pots and Tubs

The pot should have a capacity of at least 10-30 liters, have good drainage and be protected during winter. A shaded spot will be best for the pot, provided with a proper water drain and a bed of drainage gravel or similar, as many plants don't like to have "wet feet." That is why there shouldn't be any saucers under the pots either! On timber decks, it is best to prop the pot up on some clay supports to avoid potential water damage on the timber deck. Topsoil or a mix of equal parts of sand, clay and compost make for the the best growing medium. A layer of regularly renewed mulch can prevent the soil from drying out.

Grapevine in a tub, bamboo trellis with espalier clamps
Potted plants: Here real grapes
Grapevine on a balcony before the winter pruning, insulated with a sisal coal bag filled with autumn leaf litter
Winter protection for potted plants
grapevine in a pot
grapevine in a pot
Honeysuckle on wire rope, with groundcovers
Greening in plant pots

Winter Protection

Many damages in winter are not caused by the cold, but rather by drying out of the soil, because one forgets too easily that the evaporated moisture needs to be replaced by slightly watering the plant. Take note: wintergreen plants (eg many climbing roses) continue to transpire and draw water from the pot in winter! 

The best winter protection is provided by moderately watering plant and pot once more after the leaf drop, and place the pot in a shallow hole in the ground, surrounded with earth and covered thickly with leaf litter, straw or pine branches, so that only a bit of the stem framework sticks out. From March / April the pots can be placed back to their usual spot.

Alternatively, the pot can be wrapped up in bubble wrap or similar, in order to reduce heat spikes from solar radiation, which may trigger a wrong feeling of rising soil temperatures and the beginning of spring in the plant. However, this insulation cannot prevent the pot from cooling down to the ambient temperatures during particularly cold nights. A grapevine for example, which wasn't weighed down with too much fruit, can tolerate temperatures to -20º Celsius and below.

It is important not to water the pots too heavily, to prevent them from freezing and bursting.

Hops in pot culture
Annual Morning Glory
Plant pot with Morning Glory