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Can I plant out a conifer IN ITS POT in the ground, & have it thrive healthily? i.e. 'bury' the pot under the soil in a garden border

Last post 26-07-2018 3:31 PM by ASunnyAspect. 4 replies.

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  • 20/07/2018 07:08 PM
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    As I had some great advice here at the RHS forum re another conifer plant-out issue - Goldcrest Cupressus conifers: will this plant (1 or more) fit in our size of ceramic planter? - as I still have those Goldrest cupressus left over i.e. not yet in use, I have another query I hope I can have help with. Here are both the long  ,-)  & the short versions of that query!:


    Can I plant out a conifer - Goldrest cupressus - in its pot in the ground, & have it thrive healthily? i.e. 'bury' the pot under the soil in a garden border.

    I am sure I read somewhere about this idea & that is an OK thinkg to do with ?some/?all plants, to restrict root growth & thus to stop the plant growing wildly our of control e.g. too big for the location it is put in.

    (2)  THE LONG  ,-)  VERSION :

    We have some scrubby old hebes that really need to be replaced in a small (long & narrow) border, & I was thinking of replacing them with a few buxus [or is that "buxi"?!?! ,-) ]. But then I realised I have several spare Goldrest conifers that really need a good home. And that this location of a thin garden border would at least have them planted out. At the moment they're thriving in the pots just as when purchased, but at some time they're going to look a bit the worse for wear. And there is nowhere to plant them in our garden where they can be left to grow to their potential height.

    I am aware this particular conifer can grow to be a giant over several decades. Ours cites to "5ft x 3ft" (as per the plant suppliers' label that I have just found). So we need to keep the conifers small, hence the pots-under-the-ground idea. They don't need to grow very tall, as the border to be used is only approx. 1.5ft wide, & if they get too big they will overshadow etc. the garden.

    They are currently in a plastic pot of approx. 13cm/5in. Presumably that's too small to stay in long-term &/or under the soil, & will throttle it?! Or am I wrong in this? (Much as with our last query [see the URL above], we just need the plant to thrive well & NOT give up the fight to survive in the given location. I hate the idea of killing a plant in this way.)

    Is there a particular size of pot in which I should bury them under the soil, in order for them to thrive; i.e. do I need a larger pot? And will a plastic pot eventually split underground so should I replace it with a pot of a more durable/sturdy type (perhaps clay or some such)?

    All help appreciated by this relative newbie to gardening! :-)

    ~ ASunnyAspect ~
  • 22/07/2018 01:03 AM
    • Nigel
    • Paignton
    • 27 May 2008
    • 455
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    This might help

  • 24/07/2018 07:39 PM
    • Minnie77uk
    • Chesterfield
    • 18 May 2012
    • 315
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    My opinion is that a 5" pot is probably too small and it might grow through and out of the pot so no restriction will occur. Maybe a tough plastic pot of about 9-10" would be better giving it some room to grow but also likely to restrict growth when it tries to break out. I have kept mine in a 12" square but tapering pot but not in the ground and, although currently faded due to lack of water, I am expecting it to survive and change colour when the rain comes. I admit, I have never considered then planting it so don't know whether it would try to grow larger. Sorry not to be helpful but Nigel's advice sounds good too.

  • 26/07/2018 02:54 PM
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    Excellent! Great advice Nigel. Thanks. Yes 

    Have found that this URL confirms what I thought re planting out conifers in pots. So at least I know we were on the right path! ,-) 

    ~ ASunnyAspect ~
  • 26/07/2018 03:31 PM
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    Thanks Minnie77uk Yes

    Yes we also thought the 15cm pot they came in would be TOO small, even when wanting to restrict growth. So have bought a set of larger pots - c. 8in. Hopefully that will keep them small enoigh but still allow them to thrive.

    ~ ASunnyAspect ~