How to grow plants in pots and containers.
Container gardening is popular, it allow plants to be grown on balconies, in courtyards and on verandahs. It also provides a design element that can be used to give a garden a lift.
There are a lot of theories about growing plants in containers, and we are going to look at a few of them.
Larger pots are better than smaller pots.
This is true for some plants, however not for others, some plants like a contained or ‘restricted’ root system, many orchids and succulents fall into this category. So smaller pots are better these type of plants. For mass planting, a larger pot may be suitable.
Some plants, such as Peonies do not like to moved, so consider a slightly larger pot which will mean the plant has room to grow without being disturbed of a number of years.
Adding Crock Improves Drainage.
Science tells us that the theory of adding crock to the to the bottom of the pot improves drainage is simply not true. The addition of crock simply raises the water table to above the crock.
You will have less potting mixture in the pot and a higher water table. This can actually cause root problems.
Drainage relies on good drainage holes and the porosity of the potting mix.
Over potting causes problems.
A third theory is that over potting causes problems. This is true in that the potting mix or compost will be of larger volume, it will take longer to dry out and as the root system of the plant does not require that much moisture, the roots can begin to rot.
If you you really have to use a larger pot, use a free draining soil mix, or add some extra drainage material to the mix before planting, also control the amount of water the plant receives and place the pot under cover in winter.
Garden soil is not suitable for containers and pots.
After you have chosen your container or pot, its time to choose the right growing medium, and this is simply not garden soil. Garden soil simply does not drain well enough when used in a container.
You do need a potting mix designed for pots, and one that is formulated for the type of plant your are using.
So use a succulent and cactus mix for those type of plants. Orchid mixes for orchids and either acidic or alkaline mixes depending on the plant. For example, acidic soils for camellias and rhododendrons, and alkaline for peonies.
You can buy these mixes or make them yourself.
Four helpful hints for better Container Gardening
Choose the right container for the plant.
When choosing a container, make sure it has good drainage holes and is the right size. Look for solid containers that are UV resistant for longer life.
Positioning you container.
Besides the normal positioning for sun or shade requirements, the surface you place your pot on is important.
Containers should not sit directly on the soil or lawn, this can cause the drainage holes to block and therefore root problems.
If you are placing the container in a garden, sit it on a paver, slightly raised above the soil, or sit it on bricks or similar.
Watering Your Plants.
Watering will depend on the requirements of the plant, and they do differ greatly, it will also depend on the container and the position. some containers will dry more quickly than others, so simply push your finger down into the soil to see how moist it is. And try to water the soil, not the foliage, as this will reduce the risk of fungal disease.
Plant have a slightly different requirements so read up on individual varieties for an even better understanding.
Where to Buy Containers and Pots for Plants