We must thank Jill Carters introduction to Cacti on her terrace last week for introducing more ideas for planting up easy to grow and maintaining potted plants on a terrace. Lets face it, anything growing in a pot can also go under the heading of ‘gardening in Majorca’ especially when we consider Cacti and Succulents that grow so happily in the wild here so why not in a pot.
Euphorbia or as we know it better is the Poinsettia and probably one of the most popular Christmas potted plants. You may have been lucky enough to keep one alive from last year although it could be short on its red bracts which are what really attract us to this popular indoor or terrace plant.
It is a plant that does not need to be flooded with water and does in fact prefer to be watered from the bottom so be sure to provide it with a nice deep drip tray where it can be watered from time to time. Although not so festive in colour there are beautiful pinks and whites as well as the traditional red. There are others of this really large family some that are even found growing wild on this island but all adapt easily to potted and terrace life. Just a little word of caution, its white sap when a piece is broken off can prove to be an irritant to the skin, not exactly toxic but an irritant that can be quite uncomfortable.
Now for something a bit bigger. The Yucca. This left to its own in the garden will grow to just about the tallest tree in the garden. It does have one very big disadvantage in that it has a very intrusive root system that gows miles long and uproots half the garden when you want to remove it. It is a plant that cen be kept in a manageable size in a plant pot so here we have something else a little different for the terrace. It is surprising how well it adapts to a pot and containing the roots helps to keep it reduced in size.
Many of the Aloe family also thrive as potted plants both the larger single type that produces a tall orange flower head in its flowering season or the multy headed little clumps . Be careful, they do have little spikes but this is one of the easiest remedies for instant relief from mosquito bites.
Snap a little piece off so that the inner soft jelly like flesh is exposed to rub on the afflicted part. So besides a potted plant we have a homoeopthic cure for insect bites right there on the terrace. Aloe is now professionally farmed in many parts of Spain to be used in cosmetics and medication so we can start at home on our own terrace.
Lets turn to the kitchen garden in pots, well at least the herbs that can grow in pots all year round. Mint is specially reccomended to be grown in some sort of container even if you have a garden. This is another plant that has an intrusive root system if left to its own devices, once planted in the garden you have no idea where it will next come up, even between the patio paving stones where you think there will be no soil.
So a plant pot is as good a start as any. The herbs that grow into little shrubs and bushes such as Sage and Rosemary also do well in pots, once again, attractive pots for a terrace. If you are running out of space then build a tower like effect of pots starting off with a large one planting the herbs around the rim only with just a slightly smaller pot next sitting on it and so on until you have about six or so pots piled one on the other from large at the bottom until a small one at the top. It can be really effective when all the herbs are in leaf and mature as well as having them all on hand when needed for the cooking pot. It is also a way of keeping herbs going all year round here. There is little fear of frost and a sheltered terrace gives them all the sun they need.
Make sure all your bulbs are in the garden now, or once again, in their pots. Some of the earlier spring flowers should already be showing healthy green tips. Keep the weeds down whilst they are small and easy to pull up, they really are a menace, what is a weed? you may ask. The simple answer to that one is, just a plant in the wrong place. Sure proof that a gardeners life is never ending, there is always something to be done in the garden.