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Watering - Key to Successful Container Gardening



Keeping your planters and containers consistently watered will be easier and more effective when you follow some very simple and practical procedures.


Firstly, the larger the pot or container the better equipped for water retention.  Hanging baskets and small pots may require watering as often as twice a day in very hot weather, making it almost impossible for the average homeowner who works away from home or may be just too busy to carry out this responsibility.  Larger containers need watering less frequently.  We have found that placing rocks, stones or crushed pottery in the bottom of the container before you plant ensures that they do not become waterlogged over time.


You can position your containers and garden planters so that they are shaded during the hottest part of the day, thus they need less water.  For gardeners who are not available all day, it also provides some breathing space at the end of the day; plants are wilting in the hot sun waiting for that lifesaving drink. 


When you water, be sure to soak the soil ball thoroughly.  Flood the soil surface; let the water drain and repeat until the water comes out the hole in the bottom of your garden planter or flower pot. 


Keep your hose right on the deck for easy watering.  You don’t want to have to retrieve the hose every time you think it is time to check your containers for water.  You may have a watering wand which produces a very gentle spray.  The wand makes it easy to reach every pot to give the root ball a thorough soak.  It can also be turned off and on as you move about your deck or patio while watering.


Many plants do not appreciate sitting in standing water, especially in cooler weather when they are not actively growing.  During the hot summer months, however, a saucer can act as a temporary water reservoir.  They are not necessary for your very large garden planters, however, the smaller flower pots will benefit by having a saucer.  Fill the saucers with water and the water will absorb into the soil in the bottom of the container as needed.  You can always empty the saucers if they fill up during a cool or rainy spell to prevent root rot.


The addition of absorbent crystals to the planting soil in the containers is a very good idea. These polymers absorb up to 200 times their weight in water and release the water to the plants as needed.  They can greatly reduce the frequency of your watering especially if it is an especially dry and windy season.  Only use the amount specified in the directions on the product and if the product is potassium based, it will break down into fertilizer instead of salts that are harmful to your plants. 


Our next Article will feature self watering containers or making your existing containers self watering and also the benefits of a drip emitting watering system.


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