Bottomless pot test concludes

A few years ago I started an experiment: using a bottomless nursery pot as a way to give larger plants better soil without restricting their roots. If you remember, this was specifically to house a cardoon.

Well, it's time for the experiment to end. Although it seemed like a good idea at the time and could probably work under alternate conditions, it's time to try something different.


My main problem with this idea is that a black nursery pot is just not attractive enough to become a permanent feature in my garden. My wish was that whatever was growing here (cardoon at the start) would have foliage that covered much of the pot, or that I could grow other plants around the pot to help hide it.

What I didn't remember is that even if the cardoon had survived, there are still at least five months out of the year where nothing would be growing here, so ugly pot is exposed to all.

The second problem was that this thing would not stay level. Over time (winter mainly) it would shift, and trying to straighten it again was almost impossible since it was connected to the ground.

So I yanked it out yesterday.

The mound of soil that was left fits with the mounds of the cactus beds which were created after this bottomless pot was installed, but it needed some amendments to give it a bit more drainage -- make it more consistent with the soil of the cactus beds.

Sand and pea gravel to the rescue!

There is really no good way to make a mound of soil look good in a photograph unless you are laying flat on the ground with the camera, and it was too wet for that. So here's a bad one:

I have some Echiums that needed a home, so they moved right in:

Two Echium russicum grown from seed, and one Echium amoenum ‘Red Feathers’ which has a damaged but still beautiful flower spike:

I think these all will be happy here, and I'm hoping they'll reseed too, as this area can use a few more plants.

So to summarize, the bottomless pot idea could probably have worked if:

  1. I had used a more attractive pot
  2. It was a heavy pot that could be more solidly anchored to prevent shifting

Now I just need to find more sedum to cover the bare spots of this mound...

Note: I have a second bottomless nursery pot that has the same problems, but I have not yet ripped it out. I will try to make it more attractive this year if I can't get plants to hide it quickly!


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Anonymous –   – (May 30, 2014 at 5:00 AM)  

Try a tessellatus! Evergreen most years and would cover the ugly pot. Good luck! -jeremy

Alan  – (May 30, 2014 at 8:47 AM)  

Jeremy: this pot is in blazing hot sun, so that's probably not a good idea. Also, the I. tess. I had in a partially-buried pot in the front yard (not far from this) was completely killed this winter, roots and all.

Anonymous –   – (June 1, 2014 at 5:37 AM)  

That's too bad Alan. Do you have an I. tess. in the ground? If so, how did it fare?

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