Alan Titchmarsh's clever trick for filling decorative planters with seasonal flowers in seconds

The presenter's stunning urns hide a crafty secret

Alan Titchmarsh smiling to the camera
(Image credit: Getty)

Stone garden urns or any decorative container are a fantastic way of adding a bit of drama to your outdoor space when planted up with seasonal flowers. The heavier and bigger ones are usually the best, but they are also the hardest to plant up.

However, TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh has a simple trick for switching out seasonal plants in an awkward decorative container in just minutes, even seconds – and it’s something he does with the urns in his garden.

Alan Titchmarsh’s easy planting switch trick

On a post on his Instagram, Alan Titchmarsh shared with his 139,000 followers that he has an easy trick for ensuring that his stone garden urns look brilliant year-round.

He explained that instead of planting items within the actual base of the urn, he instead makes use of circular aquatic baskets, for easy maintenance.

Sharing a short video of one of his urns, he wrote, 'A cheeky way of making sure the urns outside our front door always look good. 

'I grow narcissi - here it’s the dwarf ‘Eaton Song’ - in an aquatic basket and drop them in. I’ve done the same with tulips which will replace the narcissi when they fade - one out, one in,' he explains.

Alan continued, ‘I’ll do the same with summer bedding plants. Neat eh?’

His many followers were pretty impressed by the easy trick, with one agreeing, 'Much easier than moving heavy pots around or replanting in situ and making a compost-y mess on the front doorstep!'

While another agreed, 'Brilliant idea. Will do it too!' Another also commented, 'That’s a great idea which I will unashamedly use myself - thank you!'

Aquatic baskets can be picked up from most garden centres, you can pick up 5 for £11.99 at Primrose. They are traditionally used for plants in ponds, however, they work brilliantly in containers like stone urns where drainage could be an issue. 

Alexander Oakley, MD at Willow Alexander Gardens, backs this tactic explaining:

A red-brick house with a potted bay tree by its front door

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

'This is a great way to manage drainage (and water intake) in stone urns, with the added benefit of easily swapping out flowers once they are down without the effort of replanting the entire urn,' he says.

'It’s even handier if you have a greenhouse to store the basket and bulbs into the following year, if you’re looking to add something different to the urn. 

'But make sure you label them!' Alexander points out. 

This is a genius tip for maintaining your front door ideas year-round on a budget. You can grow the plants from seed, bulb or seedling in another part of the garden in an aquatic basket and move them in and out as they bloom.  


 Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist and editor, now working in a freelance capacity specialising in homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, overseeing the homes, books and features sections of the website. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine