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Keeping Your Potting Mix Moist

Wall Plant Basket with Seperated Handle
Wall Plant Basket with Seperated Handle


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Container plantings are excellent because they provide you with a creative and enjoyable activity that is only limited by your imagination. There is one major drawback to this type of planting: the watering aspect. If you have a couple of pots here and there then it’s not a difficult task but if you have dozens of planters arranged around a large garden, it can get to be a lot of work. Sometimes your hose does not have the proper length to reach certain pots and walking back and forth to the faucet to refill a watering can places an unnecessary strain on your back. Plus it’s time-consuming, as container gardens typically need to be watered much more requently than regular gardens.

There are many methods, listed below, to make your watering life much easier. Remember that when you water your container plantings, do not water them in the same area every time. The constant pounding of the water can create a hole in the plant material.

Watering Methods

Why not mix nature with technology? An auto-irrigation system is relatively inexpensive and a great tool in the gardeners arsenal. This simple irrigation system involves setting up container plantings with one or more capillary tubes. This unit can be operated manually or by an automatic timing device. Be sure you’re aware as to the exact amount of water being regulated. Too much water can flood and destroy your plants, while depriving your plantings of water can cause the same effect.

A very “old school” technique to water your plants that many people like is the called the capillary method. This low tech process is very simple to create at your home and provides a constant water supply for your plantings. Place a bucket of water above the level of your pot and attach one end of a greenhouse capillary matt in the water container. Place the other end just above the potting mix. Water will be absorbed up out of the water container and into your plantings until the water vessel is completely empty.

Moisture Retaining Method

Covering your plantings with pebbles, glass, or stone chips is a recommended idea. Not only does it create a powerful visual statement, it keeps the potting mix moist by reducing water evaporation from the soil. It also prevents dirty soil from splashing and accumulating on your container and foliage when watering the plant.

Water retaining crystals can be added into the potting mix to provide moisture for the roots and soil. This comes in handy for hanging baskets since their potting mix tends to dry out rapidly. Mix the dry crystals and potting mix together then add a generous amount of water. Make sure you don’t add too many crystals or else they will expand to a point where they will push themselves and the soil out of the pot.