Getting Started with Planting Containers Watering Tips
Container planting is extremely practical for balconies, decks and in
places where other plants won't grow. Watering is probably the most
important part of maintenance for ensuring healthy container plants.
Make sure the pot has a drainage hole. If it
is clay or wood, you can drill a hole. If water can't drain out of
the pot, the roots sit in water and will rot.
If the pot is sitting on a concrete balcony
floor, raise it up on feet made out of clay or plastic. Flat pieces
of brick or small squares of wood will also work to raise pots -
just don't put them under the drainage hole. These allow the water
to drain away from the pot.
If you use a saucer under your pot, don't let
water stand it in. Check about an hour after watering and if there
is still water in the saucer pour it off.
Before putting soil in the pot when planting,
place a small piece of mesh or broken clay pot over the hole so that
soil doesn't escape. Don't entirely cover the hole but leave enough
space for the water to drain. Some gardeners recommend using an old
tea bag over the hole.
Remember potted plants can dry very quickly
in the sun and wind. Small pots can totally dry out in as little as
a few hours.
Do the finger test. Stick your finger into
the soil up to the second knuckle to tell if the soil is moist.
It's hard to overwater outdoor pots that have
good drainage. Many potted gardens need watering every day.
Group your pots. The larger display can be
magnicent and watering is easier in a large group.
Moisture retention granules are great for
holding the water and then slowly releasing it back into the soil as
it dries out. Remember to place granules about 2" below the
surface so that the water is released to the roots where it is
needed. Besides, when the granules swell with water they look like
big clumps of white goo on top of the soil where they aren't serving
any useful purpose.
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