Tips for watering container plants
Gardening can be both an enjoyable and rewarding experience, the five-star resort where I was employed many years ago presented me with the opportunity to work as a nurseryman, a groundsman, and interior plantscape technician which I gladly excepted working in one area for a while before transferring to the next.
As an interior plantscape technician, my team and I was not only responsible for creating beautiful garden designs but to ensure that those plants were properly maintained keeping their beauty and luster so besides the dusting, pruning, and fertilizing we had to ensure that those interior plants were getting the right amount of water.
Container gardening is really unique, with this type of gardening comes many advantages because with container gardening your plants can be moved around to different locations for aesthetics, to be secured in adverse weather condition, with container gardening your plant growth can be controlled, these type of gardens can be used to soften an area, to screen an area and so on but what I want to touch on here is watering methods.
Many garden designs become a nightmare simply because of the wrong watering methods and so it is also with interior plantscape, while we can all agree that all plants need water there is also an exception because plant species have different water requirements and if we don’t know these requirements can cause our garden plants to fall sick, suffer and die. Below we will be looking at how to ensure that your plants are getting the right amount of water so you can have success with your container-grown plants.
How to water container plants
1. The first rule to having success with container gardening is to ensure that the container has drain holes for water to escape or drain through if the water has no way to escape root rot will set in because of disease. It does not matter how much that plant loves water, there is a limit, go beyond this limit and your plant will suffer at your own hands.
2. Secondly, the right choice of garden soil plays an important part in the success of your container gardening. Know your garden plants soil requirements, for example, a plant like a peace lily is high maintenance meaning it requires water a least 3 times per week depending on the location, therefore, this plant species must use good garden soil that will hold the right amount of water.
Cactus, on the other hand, is a low maintenance plant it survives on very little water so instead of using a garden soil that holds moisture preferred soil type would be sandy soil that drains well which brings up key number 3.
3. Know your garden plant water requirements because this bit of information will put you in a better position of knowing and meeting your plant’s water requirements. When purchasing your plant find out as much information as possible from your garden nurseryman because the more you know will work in your favor.
4. Before giving your garden plants a drink of water check the soil to ensure whether your container-grown plants need a drink or not. One way this can be done is to use your finger pressing it into the soil about 3-4 inches. A better way, however, is the use of a soil probe or moisture meter.
These were 2 tools that I used as an interior plant scape technician. With the moisture meter, you stick the end into the soil which has a silver tip that will give you a reading. Another method is with a soil probe, a soil probe has markings, once you push the pointed end of the probe into the soil about 3-4 inches remove it, the soil will be attached in an indented spot where you can check the moisture level.
5. The best time to water your container-grown plants is during the morning hours, this will give the soil time to dry out so that the roots will not suffer rot. If watering in the evening the reverse will happen and plants will suffer root rot so remember to water in the morning.
6. Give your plant a good soaking. Watering lightly will cause you to keep adding water more often which is not good for your plant. Water should run out of drain holes when watering your plants this is a sure sign that your plant is getting a good drink.
7. Before watering ensure that your plant needs it first by checking the soil moisture level.
8. The type of pots you are using plays a BIG part and will influence how the water is absorbed. A plastic container is known to help with water retention over unglazed terra cotta containers which will cause the soil to dry much faster.
Addition garden tips
1. Always ensure that a saucer is placed under the container to collect water.
2. The saucer should be emptied, don’t allow standing water to remain in the saucer which can encourage mosquitoes to lay their eggs.
3. Keep your container-grown plants clean by dusting if they are on the inside or washed with a spray of water if they are on the outside.
4. Having a hand pruner on hand will help to control the growth of your container plant and also help it to retain its natural form.
5. The use of slow-release fertilizer will work wonders. Read and follow the manufactures label before applying because the label is the law.
6. Keep a watch for garden insect pests that can do so much damage to your plants. The use of insecticidal soaps or as directed by your nurseryman or garden center rep will help.
7. Container grown plants that are kept on the inside should be placed near a south window to get sufficient sunlight.
8. Installing grow lights will help to keep your indoor container-grown plants healthy.
9. Ventilation is a must, ensure that there is proper air circulation.
10. Humidity is so important, give your indoor plant the right amount of humidity.
11. If you discover that your plant is wilting despite you are giving it water, have an off-color and foul smell of rotten tissues it may be that your plant has a disease. For more on the control of the plant, diseases follow these links. Plant disease and controlling plant disease.
12. If you must remove your container-grown plants from the outside do so with caution. If expose immediately to the full sun will damage your plant. Locate an area that gets partial sunlight and install your container there.
After several weeks let’s say 4 weeks you can gradually expose your container-grown plant to fuller sunlight. Just do it in stages and your plant will love you for this.
The final word
Container gardening can be very rewarding because you not only control the growth of your garden plants with this method but you can also move your plants around when the weather is not favorable. I have spent so many years as an interior plantscape designer using this method caring for garden plants giving that WOW so if this method is something you are looking for them I encourage you to go ahead and give it a try, you will be so happy that you did. Container gardening another way to give nature a helping hand.