Planters & Potted Plants
Potted plants and containers have often been the focal point of any garden or patio, especially in early spring, before all our bedded plants start to grow. We can have color and variety in our pots instantly. Pots and containers are fairly simple and are a great place to express our artistic talents. We just need to take into consideration a few things when planning and we will be rewarded with a great return on our investment.
One thing to consider is that garden soil, manure and topsoil are not meant to be used in planters as they are. These materials are often too heavy, they dry out quickly, and they do not allow the flow of oxygen to the plants roots. If you are going to spend the time and money to make up planters, you should use the most appropriate mix to give your plants the best environment for a fruitful life. When gardening with containers, you want to use a "soilless" mix, because they do not contain as much heavy indigenous soil. A good potting mix will have peat, humus, vermiculite, perlite and some nutritional component, or a combination of these. These minerals are designed to retain moisture and prevent compaction. The range of choices for soilless mixes is endless. Price will usually dictate quality, so do your homework.
Benefits: Potting soils are generally water retentive and fast draining. Additional nutrients may need to be added during the growing cycle. They are lightweight and can be used as an amendment or on their own. Most, but not all potting soils have been sterilized to prevent the growth of weeds in your pots. The bag will indicate whether or not the soil has been sterilized.
Uses: There are a variety of uses based on specific plant needs such as succulents, seed starts, container plantings, and soil amendment. They can be used for indoor or outdoor plantings.
The layering of a pot or container, should be as follows:
- Put 2'-4" inches of drainage material in the bottom
- Cover with landscape fabric
- Fill about 3/4 of the way up with appropriate potting soil
- Plant your container
- Fill in void areas with more potting soil, make sure to push it in well, leaving a 2" gap from top of container to top of planting, so water does not over flow
- Mature plantings will require fertilizing with something like nutricote 14-14-14 or another all purpose fertilizer
If you have very large/tall pots, you do not need to fill the whole pot with potting soil, almost any filler will do. Choose light weight products if you have to move the pots. You might use the small plastic trays that the plants came in, lava rock, stryofoam packing chips, use your imagination.