Let’s face it – American landscapes are getting smaller. For those of us who don’t have a huge backyard, container gardens on the balcony, patio or porch can be a great alternative for our green thumbs.
Plants in containers tend to dry out faster than plants in the ground due to their exposure to sun and wind, so they usually require more frequent watering. If you have a container garden to take care of, make sure you irrigate it properly to ensure your plants stay healthy and vibrant all year round.
One of the most common mistakes container gardeners make is watering all of their plants equally. Some plants require substantial amounts of water, while other plants prefer dryer soil. Before taking those beautiful potted flowers home, it is a good idea to speak with a nursery technician about the specific water and soil needs of your new plants
Purchasing the correct type of pot for your plants is another important decision for container gardeners. Terra cotta or unglazed clay pots breathe well but tend to dry out the fastest. Plastic or metal pots will help reduce evaporation and retain moisture a little longer. Also, larger pots and wooden planters usually need less frequent watering than small, individual pots.
To determine if your plant needs water, just stick your finger into the soil surrounding the root system. If it feels dry down to the first knuckle of your index finger, add water. If the soil is still damp, don’t water. To keep your fingernails clean, you might want to purchase a moisture meter at your local home & garden center. Once a moisture meter is placed in the soil, it will automatically tell you if your plant needs watering.
If you have a difficult time remembering to water your plants by hand, consider using a self-watering pot, or installing an automatic drip irrigation system to make sure your plants are getting the moisture they need.