What size pot, what size plant?

Choosing the right plant for the right pot, or vice versa, can often be difficult.  If the scale isn’t right then it can look really awful, especially with topiarised trees and statement plants like Box balls which can take a while to grow.

Pots and planters are often placed in a specific place to provide instant effect.  The scale and proportion of the plant and pot is therefore really important – get it wrong and it will be demanding attention for all the wrong reasons.

So do you choose the plant for the pot or the pot for the plant?  Well, that really depends on which you have first.  It makes life easier if, like me, you are buying the two together but the same principles apply whichever way you approach it.

Normally I draw the pots and plants to scale so that I can work out how they will look.  It’s worth taking the time to do this as it will really help you to see how the size and shape of the pot work with the size and shape of the plant you have chosen.

In the case of box balls for example, the ball needs to be bigger than the pot otherwise the balance will be all wrong...

I hope you can see that the left hand pot feels much more in balance the right hand one.

The same applies to topiarised trees where the crown or “lollipop” should feel in balance with the size of the pot.  Compared to the others, you should be able to see that the middle sketch below looks and feels the most balanced of the three.

Another helpful tip is to take your pot or plant with you when you’re buying its counterpart.  You’ll quickly be able to tell what looks right if you trial them together.

Whichever way you tackle it, the effort you put in at the planning stage to get the balance right will definitely make a huge difference to the overall look and feel of your garden in the long term.


(Images: Lisa Cox)