"It still surprises me how much water is needed to get to the roots of a plant in a good-sized container," says Michaels. Don’t just wet the top of the soil, she advises. Rather, continue until you see water dripping out from the holes at the bottom of the pot.
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- 6 Secrets to a Successful Container Garden
6 Secrets to a Successful Container Garden
"There are no nutrients in most potting soils, and even those that have some will need to be supplemented throughout the growing season," Michaels says. Check your bag: If your potting soil doesn’t contain nutrients, then augment it with slow-release fertilizer every couple of weeks.
Pay Attention to Pot Size
Add Some Holes
If your container is skimpy on drainage, don’t be afraid to make a few extra holes in the bottom. For ceramic pots, use a drill with a special bit and always wear your safety goggles—these pots can crack. Also, be careful that the pot and bit do not overheat. Switch to a regular bit for plastic pots. For a metal container, hammer and nail do the trick.
Skip the Gravel
"It’s a myth that stones or shells at the bottom of a container help keep your plants from getting waterlogged," Michaels reveals. If you're concerned about escaping through the drainage hole on bottom, line the base of the pot with window screening, a coffee filter, or a paper towel before adding soil.
"When containers sit flat on nonporous surfaces, drainage can be affected," says Michaels. To the degree possible, try to promote the free circulation of air beneath a container. You can do so by raising the container aloft, supporting it from below with strategically positioned tea cups, shot glasses, or small terra cotta pots.