Lawn and Garden Shop
Gardening Tips Informational Series
Tips For Home Gardening
General Information: Container Gardening
What Makes a Good Potting Mix?
- When it comes to potting mixes, one size does not fit all plants. Different plants have specific nutrient and moisture needs. That's why gardeners must know how to use many kinds of potting mixes.
- Some things that all potted plants need are excellent drainage, disease-free soil and nutrients that will not wash out. Therefore, it is important to only use premium ingredients to blend the best potting mixes for each type of plant that you wish to grow.
- Good compost supplies nutrients that resist leaching. It also adds beneficial soil life to "soilless" potting mixes. But it's got to be really good compost! You don't want to add poor quality compost that contains weed seeds or disease agents,
may burn plants or tie up nutrients as it finishes decomposing. Use only compost that has been composted hot and long so it is non-burning, and is free from weed seeds and diseases.
- Light Sphagnum Peat holds water and nutrients, and resists compaction. Other peat types hold less moisture, do not last as long, and may contain weed seeds. Use only premium Canadian Sphagnum Peat in all of your potting mixes.
- Organic Fertilizers release nutrients slowly and only when temperatures allow root growth, so more gets to plants and less washes out. Use only planting mixes that are fortified with organic plant foods that is blended for each type of plant.
- Well aged finely ground Fir bark helps potting mixes drain, and stores moisture and nutrients.
- Fresh bark or sawdust should not be used because they do not hold moisture well, tie up nutrients and inhibit plant growth. Use only well aged Douglas Fir Bark fines in your potting mixes.
- Perlite and Pumice make mixes lightweight, porous and well drained, but add little in the way of nutrients.
Choosing a Container
- Just about any pot, tub, barrel, or container, that will hold soil and let water drain out the bottom can be used as a planting container, provided that it is big enough and looks good to you.
- Drain holes on the side of the pot right at the base are best. Pots with holes only in the bottom should be set up on bricks or a pan full of gravel so water can drain freely.
- Clay pots are attractive and come in many sizes and shapes, but dry out quickly.
- Plastic pots hold moisture well, are inexpensive and come in a wide selection of sizes.
- Wooden containers can be made in any size and are attractive, but can pose problems when they rot, weaken and fall apart.
- Glass containers may be broken easily, so choose and use carefully.
Watering Container Plants
- All containers must have drainage holes for best growth. You may find a fancy pot that you want to use, but that it doesn't have drainage holes. A suggestion is to transplant your plants into a plain pot and set it inside the decorative one, upon a layer of gravel.
When you water, the pot will drain easily. However, do not allow the water to come up to the bottom of the pot.
- How often to water will vary. Clay pots dry out faster than plastic, hanging baskets in a sunny spot may need water twice a day, but sheltered, indoor plants are easily over-watered. Also, as the seasons change, containers will need more or less watering.
- Check the soil with a finger or moisture meter before watering. Allow water to come out of the drainage holes. It will help prevent the build-up of fertilizer salts in the root zone.
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- Return to Lübeck Haus Bookstore Bookstore Directory.
Browse our bookstore catalogue for all of our gardening, horticulture, plant propagation, husbandry, and small farming book categories.
- Visit online our Kings Street Market Market Directory .
Browse The Kings Street Market Directory for a variety of shopping stores selling books, electronic equipment, computers, software, gardening equipment, tools & equipment, livestock, honey bee hives, groceries, masonry books, tools, & equipment, camping tents, hunting & fishing equipment, and other fine products for your home, den, job, and garden.
- Visit Kings Gate Lodge Website Directory .
Our Outfitter Department offers hunting and fishing equipment, camping tents and equipment, camping supplies, canoes, kayaks, outdoor clothing, groceries, and books.
- Visit Lübeck Haus Store Store Directory .
Visit our main store for books, kindle books, kindle readers, audiobooks, VHS & DVD movies, music CD's, home & office electronics, computers, computer and game software, video games, tools, hardware, clothing, apparel, jewelry, watches, magazines, newspapers, games, and toys.
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This page was published March 14, 2002.
This page was last updated June 12, 2017.