This guide to container planting outlines, in a 10-step process, all essential requirements for a successful commercial planter installation.

1. Fill the bottom of the planters with an appropriate drainage layer. Prior to this step, if desired, the planters can be lined at the base with geotextile membrane, which will help to clean any water draining out of the bottom of the planter.

Commercial planter installation: fill the bottom of the planters with a drainage layer

2. Place reservoir tank on top of the drainage layer.

Commercial planter instalation: place reservoir tank on top of drainage layer

3. Check that the bottom of the plant root ball will be no more than150mm above the top of the reservoir. Water is drawn from the reservoir into the surrounding compost by capillary action, so the root ball needs to be relatively close to the reservoir to access this water.

Commercial planter installation: check that root ball will be no more than 150mm above the top of the reservoir

4. Fill reservoir tank capillary leg(s) with loose compost, and press down gently to eliminate any large air pockets.

Commercial planter installation: fill reservoir tank capillary leg(s) with loose compost

5. Place reservoir tank capillary leg into its hole in the top of the tank.

Commercial planter installation: place reservoir tank capillary leg into hole

6. Break up the compost to a fine texture. Add fertiliser to the compost according to instructions, and mix together well.

Commercial planter installation: break up compost and add fertiliser

7. Fill the planters with fertilised compost to just cover the reservoir tanks. At this stage, each reservoir should be filled with water until the float indicator shows that it is full. The planters should then be left for a while, until the surface of the compost is saturated with water. The plants should also be well watered before planting, so the soil around the roots is saturated. And at the point of planting, the plant’s root ball should be gently teased apart and loosened, which will help the roots to rapidly establish.

Commercial planter installation: fill planters with fertilised compost

8. Position plants, ensuring that the reservoir downpipe is in the desired position for watering. The reservoir downpipe can either be left long, so that the pipe can be accessed when the plants have grown together into a hedge. Alternatively the downpipe can be trimmed in length, making sure to trim the same length from the end of the float indicator within the downpipe.

Commercial planter installation: positioning plants

9. Complete planting, ensuring that the plants are packed around with soil to a few centimetres below the planter rim. When the planting is completed, each reservoir should be filled with water for a second time, until the float indicator shows that it is full.

Commercial planter installation: ensure plants are packed around with soil

10. Finally, dress the top of the planters with mulch to insulate and retain moisture.

Commercial planter installation: dress the planters with mulch


This guide to container planting outlines, in a 10-step process, all essential requirements for a successful commercial planter installation.

1. Fill the bottom of the planters with an appropriate drainage layer. Prior to this step, if desired, the planters can be lined at the base with geotextile membrane, which will help to clean any water draining out of the bottom of the planter.

Commercial planter installation: fill the bottom of the planters with a drainage layer

2. Place reservoir tank on top of the drainage layer.

Commercial planter instalation: place reservoir tank on top of drainage layer

3. Check that the bottom of the plant root ball will be no more than150mm above the top of the reservoir. Water is drawn from the reservoir into the surrounding compost by capillary action, so the root ball needs to be relatively close to the reservoir to access this water.

Commercial planter installation: check that root ball will be no more than 150mm above the top of the reservoir

4. Fill reservoir tank capillary leg(s) with loose compost, and press down gently to eliminate any large air pockets.

Commercial planter installation: fill reservoir tank capillary leg(s) with loose compost

5. Place reservoir tank capillary leg into its hole in the top of the tank.

Commercial planter installation: place reservoir tank capillary leg into hole

6. Break up the compost to a fine texture. Add fertiliser to the compost according to instructions, and mix together well.

Commercial planter installation: break up compost and add fertiliser

7. Fill the planters with fertilised compost to just cover the reservoir tanks. At this stage, each reservoir should be filled with water until the float indicator shows that it is full. The planters should then be left for a while, until the surface of the compost is saturated with water. The plants should also be well watered before planting, so the soil around the roots is saturated. And at the point of planting, the plant’s root ball should be gently teased apart and loosened, which will help the roots to rapidly establish.

Commercial planter installation: fill planters with fertilised compost

8. Position plants, ensuring that the reservoir downpipe is in the desired position for watering. The reservoir downpipe can either be left long, so that the pipe can be accessed when the plants have grown together into a hedge. Alternatively the downpipe can be trimmed in length, making sure to trim the same length from the end of the float indicator within the downpipe.

Commercial planter installation: positioning plants

9. Complete planting, ensuring that the plants are packed around with soil to a few centimetres below the planter rim. When the planting is completed, each reservoir should be filled with water for a second time, until the float indicator shows that it is full.

Commercial planter installation: ensure plants are packed around with soil

10. Finally, dress the top of the planters with mulch to insulate and retain moisture.

Commercial planter installation: dress the planters with mulch


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A guide to commercial container planting