Growing plants in pots can provide a gardener with many positives that are not available from having the plant in the ground. Having a plant in a pot allows the gardener to move it around relatively easily and to also have a plant growing in locations otherwise not possible - indoors, in apartments and on balconies to name just a few. Some gardeners just prefer the convenience of potted plants.
In order to successfully grow healthy plants in pots, you should follow some basic guidelines. The following tips will help you enjoy gardening with plants in pots.
Plants that are in pots can be even more susceptible to both too much water and not enough - even more so than plants that are in the ground.
If the soil in a pot does not drain well, the plant roots and therefore the plant are likely to die. While the soil will usually need to be moist, having too much water will fill all the air spaces - vital oxygen will not be available to the roots so that they can perform many vital functions. Therefore, ensure that firstly there are drainage holes in the bottom of the pot and that they are clear. When potting a plant, it is always a good idea to not add the soil directly onto the drainage holes - cover these with gravel, or perhaps a piece of mesh or even some old broken pieces of pot - anything that will keep the soil directly away from the drainage holes.
Use a good quality potting soil that has much organic matter in it - this will both help it drain while ensuring that a good level of moisture is retained in the soil.
Plants in pots will require more regular watering than plants that are in the ground. This is due to:
To overcome these problems, monitor closely the soil moisture level - actually inspect it. If the soil is not moist, then it will need to be watered. Generally, plants in pots will need to be watered at least 2 or 3 times a week, but this will of course depend on your location - indoors, outdoors or local climate. Checking regularly will allow you to become familiar with what is normal for your location and your plants.
plantsPlants in pots have limited access to nutrients - what they get in the pot is all they get. Therefore, there is a need to replenish what they use, and this should be done more regularly than many people realise. While there will be variations depending on the type of plant and location, the following is a general guide to consider:
If you are ok with inorganic fertilisers, there are also many slow release fertiliser granules available from your local nurseries.
Remember, the nutrients within a pot can be depleted quite quickly. If you don't replenish these nutrients regularly, the plant is likely to not flourish and suffer from a range of deficiency diseases. Also, remember that one of the best defences against pests is to maintain a healthy plant.
Overtime, the organic matter that is in your potting mix will decompose leaving behind inorganic materials such as the sand and perlite which are both used as a base for many potting mixtures. Also, the potting mix can become quite hydrophobic and no matter how much water you add, it just drains through without actually wetting the soil and being available for the plant.
In the short term, you can address these issues with such things as wetting agents, but ultimately, you should repot your plant, providing it with fresh soil to get its roots into. Generally, you should do this every 2 or 3 years.
Like all plants, potted plants can be subject to the usual pests and diseases. But, because potted plants are often not in a 'natural" setting, they can be prone to attack by more pests and diseases. To minimise the risk of pests and disease ensure that you:
In general, a pest infestation or disease is often a sign of a different problem - remember; a healthy plant will always be less susceptible to these problems.
Ensure that you know the level of light that your plant requires. Often, plants in pots end up being placed in the most convenient position and this is not always the place where the plant will receive the optimum amount of light. If you have a specific spot where you want a potted plant to be located, be aware of the amount of light that the position receives and select a plant that will thrive in that location. Trying to force a plant into a location that it is not suited, will always results in sadness, not to mention the added expense.