Tuesday , December 11 2018
Home / Garden Plants / Alpine and Rock Garden / Planting a trough

After you have found out in our building projects are how to make your own troughs now is time to find out how to plant them with alpine and rock garden plants to make them look nice and to attract the eyes.

Because the final planted trough will be maybe too heavy to move it around it is better to place it in its final position before it is filled. Find a warm and sunny spot for it. Troughs look best when they are raised on bricks or concrete blocks but make sure they are stable and will not tip over.

Planting a trough

Make sure that the trough is level and has adequate drainage holes. Put coarse drainage material over the drainage holes and over the base of the trough to a depth of about 5 cm. You can put anything from pieces of broken pots to bricks or other rubble, any of these are suitable for a good drainage.

Top the drainage material with a suitable free-draining alpine compost, adding it in layers and making sure that is firmed in thoroughly, especially in the corners and around the edges. Fill to within 2.5 cm of the top to let some space for a safe watering.

Decorate the surface with attractive pieces of rock using your imagination. Angle the pieces into the compost making sure that about one-third of each piece is buried to create a mini-outcrops that will provide various pockets for planting your chosen alpines.

Plant the selected alpines in the trough by scooping out holes to take the rootball of each in turn. Firm the plants in but avoid the temptation to over-form. Place the larger and central plants first, finishing with smaller ones around the edges.

Finnish the arrangement with a top-dressing of coarse grit or rock chippings, pushed well under the top-growth of each plant. Keep well watered at first but avoid wetting the leaves unnecessarily. Once established, the trough should only be watered occasionally.

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Sempervivum, also known on their common name as Houseleeks or Hens and Chicks, are succulent evergreen perennials that produce low, compact, evergreen, flower-like rosettes of succulent leaves. The plants send out numerous offsets, and spread in this manner to form a dense colony. The parent rosettes are the hens, and the smaller rosettes that spring from them are the chicks or chickens.

Although grown for its foliage, usually used in rock gardens, hens and chicks do flower. Flowers of up to half a metre develop on the branches and their colour vary from rose to pink. The foliage of hens and chicks plants are normally green at the base and reddish brown at the tip, all with close, rigid dented edges.

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