Three Easy Tips for Successful Container Gardening

Here are several useful tips for creating a hanging basket or container pot. I also use these techniques for my indoor container gardens and windowsill plants too.

Soil is always the key to a healthy plant. For containers and hanging baskets use an artificial soil composed mostly of peat moss.  Good soils such as Fafard or Pro-Mix use perlite, peat, and other ingredients to produce a soil that will not compact over the summer.  I also use homemade compost in my container plants. (It makes great compost tea.)

Real garden soil compacts and turns into concrete under the pressure of regular watering.  And when that happens the plant roots stop growing because they require good open spaces to move into and absorb nutrients. Hard, compacted soils do not grow good plants so do not use real soil in your containers. It’s also lighter than real soil.

Tip: I re-use my artificial potting soil from year to year.  I dump it out of the pot when the season is over or the plant needs re-potted. Break up the soil mix with a shovel to cut up all last year’s roots. Next add approximately 10 % of compost. The compost will create air spaces and gives plants a boost of nutrients.

Feed your plants regularly.  Nitrogen is needed by all plants and is used up quickly.  I use a fish-emulsion liquid feed with seaweed to provide all the trace nutrients my plants require.  I also use compost tea, which I have a supply on hand at all times. You can use any liquid plant food (like Miracle Grow) to promote growth.

Watering your plants. And finally, no matter the size of the container, it is important to soak it all the way to the bottom at each watering.  Continue watering until water emerges from the pot bottom.  This ensures the roots can reach all parts of the container and grow properly. I also set all my container plants on pebbles that sit on trays. This adds humidity around the plant and also makes sure the plant has drained well. Plants do not like wet feet (roots).

These tips will keep your container plants and indoor plants healthy.

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