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What to plant in a shallow trough with no drainage holes?

I have recently moved into an apartment which has a built-in, plastic-lined trough on the terrace which is only 20cm high (see below). I would not be able to make drainage holes. I'm a total gardening novice and at a complete loss at what to plant here.

I'd ideally something that looks aesthetically striking and that would grow as tall as this situation allows - I was thinking rough horsetail but not sure if that would need more height? It's a west-facing terrace on the first floor, and the trough gets a lot of afternoon sun. 

Our downstairs neighbour has had some success with bruxus, agapanthus and woodland sage but I would prefer not to plant bruxus as we have a lot of box blight in our area. 

Any help would be hugely appreciated!


  • BijdezeeBijdezee Posts: 1,484
    No drainage holes.. Spells disaster in my opinion but if your neighbour has the same set up then maybe speak to them about what works best? 
  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    How about a small pond with miniature water lilies and marginal plants.
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,968
    Can you poke some holes in the plastic where it meets the bottom sides?  Along all edges?  If so, line them bottom with gravel and fill with some gritty compost suitable to whatever you are planting. Elderberries might me good, they are fairly shallow rooted, don't mind damp soils during parts of their season, and have lovely flowers and fruit.  

    Or purchase some plastic square or rectangular pots that would fill the space, and pot those up?  Best put them up on some bricks to help with drainage.  
    Utah, USA.
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,320
    It’s a ready-made bog garden. You even have the tap.🙂

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • tui34tui34 Posts: 3,206
    edited June 2020
    Hi - put stones and rocks on the bottom for drainage.  Sweet peas  to go up  something that will hang down like campanula.  Few daff bulbs for a spring show next year.
    A good hoeing is worth two waterings.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,980
    I'd agree with @pansyface. Small pond
    Without holes - you can't grow plants, even bog plants. They still need a certain amount of drainage or the soil will be stagnant.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,476
    Some bog plants will be OK without drainage, as will any genuine pond plants.  Why are you not able to make any drainage holes?  Is it due to concerns about water ingress to the property below?
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