Planting too many plants per pot can be very stressful on the roots. Plants competing for space are also competing for nutrients and water. Overplanted containers tend to look stressed by summer because there are too many plants trying to compete with one another. Use deep containers that will provide more room for the roots and enable the plant to not dry out as quickly. If you plant fewer plants per container you’ll notice the plants perform much better than you may be accustomed to and require less water. If you are using shallow or small containers limit the number of plants even more. Always remember that the roots need as much soil as possible to survive our hot, dry summers.
Always use “potting soil” for containers, as it is much looser than regular soil. Replace your potting soil every year. It sounds expensive, but think about the cost of 1 bag of potting soil compared to the plants you’re putting into containers, the investment in soil is well worth the reward of healthy plants. Good soil makes all the difference, whether it’s for your containers or your flowerbeds and vegetable gardens.
Fertilize containers once a week with a liquid fertilizer. Containers need a lot of feed- so once a week is important. You’ll see a huge difference. Follow the directions of your fertilizer for proper use.
Monitor watering. Don’t water just because you assume the plant needs it. I usually let mine dry out until they just barely start to wilt, then I water them the following morning. Plants need to dry out thoroughly – it helps them to develop healthy, big roots so that they can continue to thrive in the summer heat. When they do need water make sure to water them thoroughly until they drain out the bottom. If you only water a little ever day the plant will develop a shallow, unhealthy root system.
The most important thing is to quit focusing on the top of the plant and focus on the roots. If the roots are happy you’ll have a plant that will perform beautifully throughout the summer. To learn more join us for our free annual ‘Heat Lovers Class’ Thursday, May 29th from 10:00-11:00am.