Tips for Growing Container Plants

Watering Container Plants

You need to take a few special steps when watering plants in containers.

  • Use water-holding gels to reduce the need for watering, especially when planting in quick-drying, peat-based mixes. These gels -- actually polymers -- look like crystals when dry and safely sealed in their package. But once you add water, you'll be surprised to see them swell up into a large mass of quivering gelatin look-alikes. You can blend the gel into potting mixes, following blending instructions on the package.

    A narrow perforated PVC pipe can be used to water strawberry pots or large containers.
    A narrow perforated PVC pipe can be used to water strawberry
    pots or large containers.

  • Foliage Plants for Containers
    These plants look great when they're mixed with flowering plants in pots.

    Set a narrow perforated PVC pipe in the center of a strawberry pot or large container before filling in around it with potting mix. When you need to water your plants, run the hose gently into the pipe, and the water will ooze out from top to bottom, inside to outside, giving every plant an even share.

  • Place a circle of fine mesh screen over pot drainage holes instead of using pebbles or pot shards. The screen will help to hold the soil in place until the roots fill out and claim every particle. But it's still a good idea to water outdoors, in the sink, or over a pot saucer so a little oozing dampness or soil won't damage anything.

    The problem with covering drainage holes with pot shards (the clay chunks left after a pot is broken) and pebbles is that they can shift to clog up the drainage holes. With no place for excess water to go, plant roots may soak in saturated soil, a condition few plants emerge from alive.

  • Seal the bottoms of clay saucers with polyurethane to keep them watertight. Then they will be safe to use on floors and carpets. Or, instead of buying clay saucers, you can buy watertight plastic saucers made to look like clay. When one is sitting beneath a pot, it's hard to tell the difference.
Want more gardening tips? Try visiting these links:
  • Gardening Tips: Learn great helpful hints for all of your gardening needs.
  • Annuals: Plant these beauties in your garden.
  • Perennials: Choose great plants that will return year after year.
  • Gardening: Discover how to garden.