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Container Gardening and Patio Plants

Potting – Use a 4 inch (or larger) pot. Use a pot with a drainage hole, if possible. Place a curved pot shard or small amount of gravel inside the pot, over the drainage hole - this method will allow water to drain while keeping soil in place. If your container is not equipped to drain excess water, add 3” of gravel to the bottom of the container before adding potting soil.

Put the plant in the pot at the depth it was growing. For best results, do not use dirt from your yard to fill your container. Use fresh, quality potting soil instead. Fill with soil up to ½ to 1 inch below the container rim, and water generously. When using cubes or peat pots, press soil down to eliminate air pockets, but avoid packing so tightly that drainage is blocked. Repot plants when roots poke through the drainage holes.

Watering – Each plant has different moisture requirements. Overwatering is the biggest mistake indoor gardeners make. Know each plant’s particular moisture needs. Pot size, room temperature, soil type and species of plant should all be considered in your watering schedule. As a general rule, water when soil is dry to touch. Plants appreciate humidity. Setting pots on gravel in trays of shallow water increases moisture in the air. Misting plants with a spray a bottle is beneficial. Patio plants may require daily watering in warm weather.

Light – Most flowering plants need full light. A south or southeast window is usually a full light location. Foliage plants require less light, especially those with dark green leaves. Be sure to match your plants with the type of light available. If your plant’s light needs are not being met, it may droop, drop leaves, lose its leaf color or seem to stop growing.

Fertilizer – Most houseplants thrive on a monthly application of water soluble plant food. Be sure to follow the feeding instructions on the package.

Ventilation – Fresh air is good for plants, but not hot or cold drafts. Keep plants away from heating and cooling outlets. In summer, indoor plants may enjoy a change of scenery outdoors, but be careful to avoid extremely hot sun and temperatures.

Repotting and Pruning – Healthy plants balance their foliage and root growth. Good pruning and repotting habits help plants maintain this balance. Regular pruning and pinching back encourages fuller growth.

General Hints – If a plant isn’t doing well, try a new location. To avoid lopsided growth, rotate your plants regularly. When plant growth slows down, indicating a seasonal rest period, reduce its water and foods.

Hanging Basket – Prepare baskets for planting as you would a pot.

Interested in growing fruits in containers? Visit our Fruit Planting Guide for Patio Fruits for more information.

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