The big cover-up of unsightly compost has become a fashion trend and is one to be considered seriously for the added decorative impact it gives.
Regardless of the size and shape of the container, mounds of compost always creep over the rim and lie there, on the tabletop. Adding surface trims is one way of keeping pot plants tidy and it adds an extra decorative element, giving you more opportunities to create a stylish planting. However, its real importance is in the practical benefits it brings by preserving moisture in the potting mixture, and helping to keep it warm. It also helps keep the collars of plants dry.
In recent years, a fantastic array of surface trims has become available through florists suppliers and specialist stores. As with the containers, the choice of a trim is dictated by the style and growth habit of the plant, as well as the look you are aiming to create.
- Shards of smooth slate provide an option for plants with sturdy stems and foliage that begins a little way up the stems. Look for thin, level slivers that will sit evenly on top of the compost.
- Round black or dark brown pebbles are great with larger, brightly colored plants, providing an attractive contrast. Look for smooth pebbles that fit snugly in the palm of your hand. Coated with a plant-friendly gloss varnish, they will appear permanently wet.
- Traditional moss is still a favorite of many indoor gardeners. It sits happily on top of the soil, bouncing up and out of the rim but in a refined way. Take care not to let it get too dry. Misting occasionally will help keep it fresh and alive.
- Shells from the beach will add a seaside air to a pot, particularly one that’s a watery pale or dark blue.
- Opalescent pebbles are best for fragile plants, echoing perhaps their creamy blooms or pale variegated foliage.
- Bark is fabulous under dark foliage plants. It can be a mix of sizes and shapes, but check that it doesn’t harbor any pests and is free from signs of mould before adding it to the container.
- Small chips of white, crystal-like stones look cool with cacti, especially in a room with a monochromatic scheme. They suit high-tech metal or highly glazed pots rather well.
When adding trim, do not overfill the container or press the trim down too hard on top of the compost. You must allow the compost to breathe and not put pressure on the roots. Remember that as fashion colors change in both plants and containers, so you can mix and match the trim. Don’t throw away old ones, since you never know what your mood will dictate.