3

A few years ago I got 5 pots from IKEA measuring 12cm in diameter and 12cm tall. I've tried having herbs in them, but they are just way too small for anything to grow nicely for more than a few weeks, so now they've been sitting in a box for two years.

However, I like how they look and I really want to figure out how to use them. I recently moved to an apartment with a balcony and I'm starting a gardening project. I've got the following seeds: sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, chives, dill, parsley, basil, coriander, peppermint, spearmint, marigold, pansies, harlequin, passionflower, spring onion, dwarf snap peas, baby carrots, beans, spinach, salad, tomatoes (tumbling tom, sweet pea currant), cucamelon, jalapenos, sweet pepper, wild strawberry and strawberry temptation.

I know most of that can't grow in those tiny pots, but if any of it could please let me know, and if you have any ideas for some plants that would be able to grow in small pots (probably some semi drought resistant ones, I think they're going to dry out fast on a hot day) then I would much appreciate it!

These are the pots: http://www.ikea.com/dk/da/catalog/products/10155671/

EDIT: They do have drainage holes, I live in denmark and an alternative to placing them on the south-east facing balcony would be a north-west facing window sill.

  • So you drilled holes? These pots come without, iirc. They are sold as cache-pots for even smaller pots. – Stephie Mar 13 '17 at 20:26
  • No, but I bought them about 4-5 years ago so it must have been a slightly different model, I thought it was the same. They were sold with metal rings, hooks and a metal pole to hang on the wall. I kinda assume they were meant for outdoors, since they had holes in them, but at the time we didn't have any "outdoor" so we hung it on a sunny wall in the dining room and put plastic bags in them to keep the water from spilling on the floor. – J. Nielsen Mar 13 '17 at 20:38
2

I'm sorry to tell you that it's a waste of time trying to get anything much to grow in them - I don't think these little pots have a drainage hole in the bottom, so any use you put them to for plants means having a normal pot with drainage holes inserted, meaning you use these pots as outer containers to make them look better and catch excess water (indoors). This type of pot also gets very hot in direct sun, which isn't great for plant roots.

I've seen these put to use on kitchen windowsills, usually with smaller herbs for regular use in them - herbs such as chives, parsley, coriander, thyme, the sort of thing you can buy in pots in the supermarket in the vegetable section, but the plants in them are replaced relatively frequently once all the leaves have been used. Chives and thyme can, in theory, be permanent plants, but not in such small pots - they'd need to be potted on into something larger.

Effectively, any plant in a smaller pot can be inserted into these - but not for long before the plant concerned needs a larger pot. However, Cactus are a longer term option- most don't need repotting until they've absolutely filled the small pots they're in, and that can be years. Even so, don't plant directly into these pots, just get cacti in pots of a size to fit inside and remember to empty out excess water from the outer pot 30 minutes after watering, so the plants aren't left sitting in water. Whether you can keep cactus plants outdoors year round depends on where you are - most (or probably all) will only be fine outdoors all year in warm countries, where cold,damp winters don't occur.

UPDATED ANSWER

With drainage holes, you can plant straight in to them, but outdoors in full sun, I suggest lining the pots with something insulating first - I use large galvanised pots, but I line them with that thin, polystyrene, flexible wrapping material you get round fragile objects in packages sometimes, I don't know what it's called. If you used them for cactus indoors, though, they'd be in use for some years...otherwise just small annual bedding flowering plants, they'll only be in them four to six months at most outdoors, but they will need watering daily or twice daily in hot and sunny weather

  • They do have drainage holes in the bottom. I have also considered finding a saucer of sorts to put them in and place them in a north-west facing window where they won't dry out as quickly or receive much direct sun. I live in Denmark, so cold, damp and dark would be the best way to describe out winters but I would be happy if I could just find a use for the pots in the summer. – J. Nielsen Mar 13 '17 at 15:39
  • With drainage holes, you can plant straight in to them, but outdoors in full sun, I suggest lining the pots with something insulating first - I use large galvanised pots, but I line them with that thin, polystyrene, flexible wrapping material you get round fragile objects in packages sometimes, I don't know what it's called. If you used them for cactus indoors, though, they'd be in use for some years...otherwise just small annual flowering plants, they;ll only be in them six months at most outdoors – Bamboo Mar 13 '17 at 16:00
2

Pots that size dry out very fast in the sun. In a dull summer I grow strawberries in containers roughly that size on a south-facing wall but in a warm spell (and I'm in the UK so not a dissimilar climate) watering twice a day is barely enough. You have the advantage that if the soil dries out completely you could put them in a bigger container full of water to soak them; mine are screwed to the wall.

If you use them on the ground/balcony, where the pot isn't so exposed to drying out, many annual herbs and some perennials will do well. Plenty of herbs can tolerate dry soils anyway. I'd try all the herbs and see what works -- herb seeds aren't expensive. The veg would need something bigger almost immediately but you could start the seeds in these. If the rosemary does well it will need potting up in a couple of years. Parsley, both the mints and the spring onions would also work on the NW windowsill.

If you can lay out your balcony so the plants get some partial shade from the very hottest sun, that might help with the drying out.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.