There’s nothing quite like the convenience of potted plants. That is unless you are struggling to keep your potted plants alive and well. No matter how many planters you have maintained and cared for in the past, at some point or other there comes a plant that proves harder to care for than any others.
While potted plants might start off looking great, without the right care your plants won’t last that long. If you are new to container gardening, the mishaps can feel continuous. Instead of throwing your gardening gloves up in defeat, check out these 8 potted plant tips to help you maintain your garden year after year.
1. Change The Soil As Often As Necessary
If you do not use organic soil for your potted plants, you will need to change the soil once every season in order to provide your plants with adequate nutrients. Non-organic soils are made using man-made nutrients that dilute and disappear within a relatively short time. Organic fertilizers can last longer because they include tiny little living organisms that keep the nutrients of the soil up over the long haul. Make sure to research the soil you purchase and follow the listed guidelines for how often to change it out.
No matter how often you are willing to change out your soil, quality soil is still important. Don’t use dirt that you find around your yard, make sure to get quality potting soil in order to help your plants live a healthy life. Regularly remove the older soil that builds up around the edges of the pot. You can replace with new soil, or compost for added nutrients.
2. Find The Right Lighting
There are 3 kinds of lighting that plants prefer:
- Direct sunlight
- Indirect sunlight
- Diffused light
A simple online search of the plant you have will return answers to which type of light is preferred. You can also try making small changes to the amount of light a plant receives, taking careful note of what type of sunlight causes your plant to thrive best.
3. Don’t Overwater
One of the biggest mistakes made by gardeners is overwatering potted plants. Many worry that they will not water their plants enough, which is often where the problem originates. This is because container planters are known to dry out much faster than in-ground soil, but on the other hand they also can struggle to drain sufficiently when given too much water. Overwatering can often produce worse results than under watering, although neither is good and will kill your plant if left unaddressed.
Unless you have a self-watering planter or have created your own drainage system, it’s very easy to flood a potted plant. Excess water will build up at the bottom of the pot, trapped and unable to go anywhere, causing the roots of your plant to start to rot. A watering can is a useful tool, as using a hose can make overwatering easier to do. Try adding just a little water at once, a few hours later you can stick your finger into the soil to see if it’s moist or not. If the soil feels dry, you know you can safely add more water.
4. Provide Plenty Of Food
A common misconception is that plants get all the food they need from the soil they are planted in. This isn’t always true, especially with cheap or non-organic potting soils. Your potted plants will likely need plant food to sustain life.
There are a few different types of plant food to choose, including:
Water-soluble plant food is a mixture that contains nutrients and water, which you pour over the plant directly.
Spikes plant food includes a stick that goes directly into the soil and slowly over time releases nutrients to the plant.
Granular plant food is a type of nutrient that you sprinkle around the base of your plant before watering.
5. Know When To Repot Your Plants
There are a few signs you can adhere to in order to know if your plant has outgrown its pot. One clear indication is if you notice the roots pushing up out of the soil, this will happen if a plant becomes too top heavy and therefore starts to strain the roots.
When you do repot you want to do so carefully, especially in regards to the roots. The roots allow your plant to suck up water and nutrients; it’s the tiny little feeder ends of these roots responsible for nurturing your whole plant. If you simply rip the plant up out of the pot you are going to damage these vital roots. This can cause a great deal of stress to your plant, robbing its ability to absorb adequate nutrients, at least until the roots have a chance to repair.
You can help prevent root damage by carefully transplanting your plants. When you remove a plant from its soil dig it out so that the soil directly attached to the roots lifts out attached. When you put the plant in the new pot, make sure that the roots are spread out across the soil and not all bunched up. Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid all root damage, and so it is normal to notice some brown leaves, especially near the bottom of your plant, just after transplanting it.
6. Know Your Plant Inside & Out
It sounds simple, but you might be surprised how many people plant flowers they have little to no knowledge about. You want to know everything you can about the plants in your garden, otherwise how will you be able to properly care for them? Every plant needs a unique dose of food, water, sunshine, and so forth. If you are able to provide the basic needs for your plant, you have a much better chance of container gardening success.
7. Regularly Check For Diseases
Potted plants are susceptible to many diseases, such as mealy bugs. The key to stopping an infestation from harming your plant is to get rid of it as soon as you notice it. This means keeping a close eye on your plants and being proactive about their protection against bugs and other diseases.
8. Seasonal Maintenance Is A Must
Depending on the time of year, the type of maintenance your plants require will vary. Many potted plants fail during the winter because proper protective measures are not ensured. When the cold weather arrives, you will want to cover your potted plants or move them somewhere more protected from the elements.
Successfully caring for your potted plants can be simple, all it takes is know-how and a solid routine. Oh yea, and a great flowerpot! TerraCast Planters offers the perfect planters for all of your landscaping needs, both big and small.