Since I started gardening, I have been a little snobbish about growing plants in containers without drainage holes. I’m not sure why. I enjoy having buckets and bread bins that have had holes drilled in, however drilling holes is not always possible if you don’t have the right tools. Or you might not have decided what to use your container for – whether it will be a pot or a receptacle to contain water.
I decided to perform an experiment. I am aware having perennials in containers that do not have drainage holes is a bad idea. The water needs somewhere to go, and given we live in Britain, rain is a daily possibility. I resolved to try planting something that will be seasonal and will not live in the container for a long time. This will allow me to decide what I want the container to be. So… I went for primulas!
Preparing the base of the container
If your container doesn’t have holes, you must ensure your plant will not sit in water. I had kept the polystyrene trays that bedding plants come in from the garden centre. I broke one up, and added some crocks for good measure. Crocks are broken pieces of pottery, typically from old pots that have fallen or cracked in really cold weather.
Add plants and hey presto!
Once I was happy with the base, I added peat-free compost and planted the three primulas. While these plants are technically perennials, many people grow them as annuals. I haven’t decided what to do yet; I haven’t really had primulas in my garden before, so I don’t know what they look like after flowering. I am attracted by the cream colour with the dark pink stem and pink border around the petals; they go with the colour scheme I have in mind for the front garden, so I might dig them up once the show is over and keep them elsewhere. The beauty of gardening is that nothing has to be permanent. If something doesn’t work for you, you can (generally) change it!
I would normally water in the plants but we have very grey clouds at the moment, so I thought it best to wait and see if nature would do the watering for me. In very heavy rain, I would recommend moving hole-less pots to a sheltered position, where the plants won’t drown. These primulas greet us every day, even my non-gardening enthusiast husband commented on them when I came back home. Who said container gardening wasn’t real gardening!?