Caring For Your Planter

Planters can change the look of your garden in an instant.  Add them, move them around, replant them and you suddenly have a whole new area of interest in the garden.  That said, they do need some care to show off at their best – the good news is it doesn’t take much effort!

1. The Right Plant

Every plant has its own needs. While there are plenty of general rules that apply to most plants, you will have the best results and the greatest success when you take the time to learn about the plants you want.

You need to like the plants you choose but equally you have to choose plants that match with the planting conditions you have. Choosing plants that will adjust well to any spot in terms of the light, moisture, drainage, soil quality, and dimensions means you can be flexible with the position of your planters. Also, choose plants that are more resistant pests and diseases to help them cope with the added stress of being in a planter.

2.  The Right Pot

Choosing the right pot is key, most important is that it is big enough for the plants or they won’t have room to grow and thrive.

You can get planters in lots of  different materials, things to consider are whether  you want to move it, does it need to be frostproof, what style do you like and what your budget is.

It should have good drainage or your plant will have a soggy home – ok for some but not for most.

3. The Right Soil

Use an appropriate soil that has the right nutrients, you can also get some that have moisture retaining crystals or they can be added to the mix.  Some plants require a special mix which can be bought pre-prepared, making life easier.

Don’t use soil direct from your garden as that may have pests and diseases lurking in it which are manageable in an open bed but can be damaging to your plants in a pot.

4. The Right Watering

Watering is critical to the well-being of your plants – it pays to get to know your plants.  Generally speaking it is better to let them dry out a little, but not too much especially during a warm spell.

To see if your plant needs water, feel the soil near the edge of the pot. If it feels dry and crumbly, it’s probably time to water. I

When watering keep going until water begins to run out of the hole in the pot, or until the soil no longer absorbs any water. If the water begins to pool on top then it’s time to stop.

Rain will also affect your watering schedule – lots of rain means less watering unless your plant is sheltered from the weather.  Some may also need protection if there is heavy rain to prevent them being damaged or over-watered.

5. The Right Light

Some plants like light and some like shade but none like no light at all.  Check that your planters are placed to suit your plant and that they are not too crowded together or they can create their own shade

Most plants come with light requirements marked on the tag but if you are unsure, check it out.  It makes more of a difference than you might think. Some plants are tolerant of poor conditions but being in a planter can cause a plant to be more stressed than it would in an open bed so it needs a little more care.

6. The Right Temperature

You cannot control the weather but it does make a big difference to your plants. It can be tempting on a sunny March day to assume it’s safe to put your plants outside. Next thing you know, the temperature plummets again, and your plants are irreparably damaged.

Frost is not the only issue, your plants can get too hot as well and may need moving to a cooler spot on hot days or be shaded by other plants or garden features.

7. The Right Maintenance

Just a little TLC goes a long way with plants in a planter – and is easy to do.  One of the best uses of time is appropriate deadheading. The flowers will eventually fall off but there are benefits to a DIY approach. It encourages new growth, often helps with new blossoms and will allow your plant to grow healthily

Top dressing the soil in an established planter will always reap benefits, giving a source of fresh nutrients and replacing lost soil.

Plants growing in containers need more feeding than those in the ground. The more you water, the more quickly you will flush the nutrients out of the soil. It’s good to use a time-release fertilizer when planting but If you want really healthy and happy plants, you must feed them a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer every couple of weeks or so.

Keeping the area around and underneath your planter free of garden rubbish and pests is also vital. Using something like Potty Feet keeps your planter up off the ground making it easier to keep the area under it clean, pest free and at no risk from a soggy bottom caused by poor drainage and collected rubbish.

Planters are one of the most versatile ways to make your garden look wonderful – there are loads to choose from.  Without doubt they are one of the best ways to ring the changes in the garden.

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