Tip of the Week: Choosing and Using Pots

As you plan your containers for 2009, remember these tips about choosing pots and container gardening:

  • A pot with a flared top allows the plant to be repotted more easily.
  • A larger pot helps protect the plant’s roots from high and low temperatures.
  • A clay pot “breathes,” allowing more air to the plant’s roots.
  • Soil-based potting mix is best for long-term planting.
  • Plenty of pot shards or gravel in the base maintains good drainage.
  • A mulch on top of the soil helps it retain water.
  • Raising the pot off the ground, such as with pot feet, aids drainage and prevents waterlogging.
  • Pots in groups look best if they are all similar in design and construction.
  • Traditional settings demand classic, quality pots, while contemporary minimalist gardens can accommodate sculptural containers with simple lines and those made of innovative materials. Rustic gardens require natural-looking containers sympathetic to their environment.
  • A plant can stay in the same pot for many years but will need annual feeding with a slow- or controlled-release fertilizer. Scraping off and replacing the top few inches of potting mix also helps to keep older plants growing happily.

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