Happy July from Desert Rose! This month we begin with part one of a two part blog about how to properly plant pots. We will cover many commonly asked questions, from choosing a pot to how to design them, so that your beautiful pots can look as professional as possible.
Properly planted pots can create a finished look in a yard by adding a lot of bright colors and blooms. Pots come in all shapes and sizes, and can range in price from $25-$2500. When purchasing pots, the decision is ultimately up to your personal preference. Just remember that every pot needs a drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. If you find a pot you love but it does not have a drainage hole, don't worry as it can easily be remedied. Carefully drill out a hole on the bottom with a drill bit, making sure the hole is at least 1" wide in diameter. If a pot does not have a drainage hole and one is not drilled out, it will cause water to build up and will result in root rot, which will kill the plants. Lastly, if you already have a pot and it still has soil in it, make sure you remove the previous year's potting soil since the nutrients will be depleted.
The next step is to fill the bottom 1/4 of the pot with gravel, rocks, packing peanuts, or any other material that will allow the water to easily drain down to the bottom of the pot and out the drain hole. Filling the bottom 1/4 of the pot will also save you money by being able to purchase less potting soil, since the roots will not grow that deep. If the pot is smaller than 2 feet, put a small layer of gravel along the bottom about 2 inches thick. When purchasing soil, try to buy premium soil, since the soil will greatly contribute to the growth and overall health of the plants. It is best to use soil that contains coco coir (a natural fibre extracted from the outer husk of coconut), as this will help the soil maintain proper moisture. At this point you also want to start thinking about what kind of fertilizer you are going to use to keep your plants happy and healthy looking. The best method to do this is to fertilize regularly using a liquid fertilizer and root stimulator. Using synthetic fertilizer is a good option since this type of fertilizer essentially force feeds your plants to help them grow. Since the potted soil is not in the ground and the plants (in most cases) are annuals, the goal is to get them as big and beautiful as possible.
After you have chosen an ideal pot and a good potting soil, it is time to start selecting your plants. When buying plants it is important to read their information tags, as this will help ensure that your potting will be as successful as possible. On the plant’s tag, check the sun requirements and make sure it matches the area your pot will be located. If you want more economical pots check plant spacing on the information tag and purchase the plants based on that information but keep in mind that the plants will grow and fill out the pot. Make sure you buy a variety of plants: not just colors, but textures, growth habit, height and bloom times. If you want luscious, instant gratification, buy extra plants so they can be planted close together (more on this in next months blog). Another reason to check the plant tags is to prevent one of the most common mistakes; choosing plants that all bloom at the same time. This mistake leaves you with a beautiful pot for a little while, then nothing but green for the rest of the year. With a little bit of planning you can coordinate all of the flower's bloom cycles so your pots will be constantly blooming!
As a reminder, if you are not planting the same day make sure to water the plants thoroughly. Now that all the prep work is done it is time to start planting! Keep an eye out for next month's blog for tips and advice on planting your pots.