You selected the perfect garden planter, you researched and purchased the best kinds of plants and now you ask, When is the best time to water? Good question. You want to make sure when it comes to watering your potted plants you get it right. Of course we all know that too much or too little can kill most plants and make those garden planters look pretty bad.
First you must make sure that your garden pottery has drain holes. Even succulents & cacti don't like to sit in standing water. Then early morning is the best time to water your planters. This is because the sun is barely up and the temps are still pretty cool. Now is the time that water can penetrate the soil and get down to the roots before being evaporated by the sun & heat.
Watering your planter early also means that the plants will have time to soak up and store some of the water before they are dried out and waiting in the afternoon. Don't believe that spraying the leaves of the potted plants and then having the full sun hit them will scorch them or cause burning. That is simply not true.
The second best time to water your potted garden planters is late afternoon or early evening. What you are trying to do is to avoid watering your containers in the middle of the day. If you wait till early evening try not to get water all over the plants leaves. Letting the water sit on the leaves can cause pathogens and disease. So if you have a choice always go with morning or late morning.
Do NOT water at night. You think it's a good time to water your planters so that they can soak up all that moisture but it really causes disease like stated above because there is not evaporation.
So to rap this up, here are a few last tips.
Don't overwater - look for limp or soggy leaves, rotting at the stem or tips browning.
Water consistently over the surface of the soil and not your leaves. When you water, water deeply. The deeper the better for encouraging the potted plants roots to spread throughout the planter.
Potted plants growing in garden containers are at your mercy when it comes to getting the right amount of water. Unlike plants growing in the ground that can rely on deep roots to get them through dry spells, container grown plants have limited soil from which to drink. On the other hand, if container grown plants are left to sit too long in saucers full of water, the roots can die from lack of oxygen.
It comes down to this. If you want to be successful growing plants in garden containers, that is, if you want flowers to bloom well and your fruits, herbs & veggies to produce a bountiful harvest, you have to be an attentive & efficient waterer!
When asked " How often should I water my plants" there is no easy answer. It always involves several factors.
1. Consider Location: Planted pots under eaves or a dense tree may be deprived of rain. Stand next to your containers and look up, can you see the sky? Obviously pots on a covered porch must receive all their water from you because they are out of the rain. All containers placed in full sun need frequent watering plus consider if the surface they are on is concrete. If so they will dry out faster than a wood deck which tends to stay cooler. Pots near a light colored, south facing wall, which reflects light & heat will dry out faster than those farther away.
2. Climate & Weather: Climate is determined by where you live. If you live in Seattle where it is humid and has a lot of rain, watering isn't a constant chore. In drier, hotter areas like Phoenix, watering would be a daily even twice daily chore. Weather is what is happening RIGHT NOW! Pay attention. Hot winds on cloudless days can dry out a hanging pot in a matter of minutes.
3. Pot Type & Color: The porosity of containers influence how much water evaporates through it's sides. Terracotta is meant to breathe and is more porous than a poly resin or concrete planter. Lighter colors also reflect sunlight and dry out more slowly than darker colored ones, which absorb heat.
4. Soil Variations: Potting soils used in containers are formulated for good drainage, which means they dry out quickly. So read the bags when visiting your local nursery or check back on this blog for recommendations in future posts.
5. Root-boundedness: Plants grown in containers have roots that become more crowded as it grows. This requires more water. At this stage it is easy to over water plants. As plant roots continue to grow the organic matter in the pot mix breaks down, the containers more roots than soil. The plant is root bound and the root ball can be difficult to keep moist. The is the time to transfer to a larger planter.
Whether you have experienced any of the conditions listed above or something we may have missed, don't hesitate to comment here.
Here are a few great tips we saw at familyhandyman.com for low maintenance landscape ideas that will work great for garden planters.
1. Instead of throwing away empty laundry detergent containers, rinse them out thoroughly and then recycle them for watering your potted planters. Drill 1/8" holes in the top of the cap, and a 1/2" hole just above the handle to relieve pressure so the water flows freely. Easy to make and handy to use, this is a great tip for many reasons. We love the idea of recycling the container and the potted plants will love the added attention and water!
2. Use ice to prevent fast draining. Tired of water draining too quickly through your hanging planters? Try this ice cube trick. They will melt slowly enough so plants can absorb as much water as they need. Perfect tip for hot summers like here in Arizona. Hanging pots are such a lovely addition to any patio or porch that you need to take the time to treat them right. This ice cube trick is the perfect way!
Well these are just a few tips for your potted containers, and each is really great. Give them a try and share with us how they work!
Because their roots can reach deep into the surrounding soil, plants growing in the open ground may survive some amount of drought. But container plants have only the soil in their pots to draw from. They depend on you for the moisture they need. Obviously they will require more watering than plants in the ground so here are a few tips to help.
Potted plant's need different things. Some need soil that is kept constantly moist, but not soggy and other shoudl feel barely damp. Many fare best is soil is allowed to dry out somewhat between one watering and the next. In these cases, don't water till the soil in the top half of the pot feels dry.
Even other plants need less water and you can let the soil dry out almost to the bottom of the pot between watering though not so much that the soil begins to pull away from the pottery sides.
Lighter soil mixes dry out faster than heavier ones and if you find the soil mix is difficult to wet, apply one of the wetting agents available at nurseries and garden centers.
After awhile you will develop a watering plan that suits your container collection. The important thing is to stay flexible and check the plant containers periodically and water the plants according to their day to day needs not by a set schedule. During hot or dry and windy weather growing plants may need watering several times a day. But in cool, still overcast conditions, you may get by with much less watering.
Don't neglect pots placed under eaves or overhangs in rainy weather. If no rainfall reaches them they can suffer from drought even during a season of daily downpours.
1. Provide Ample Water: Proper watering is vital to plant survival, but requirements vary. In clay soils, infrequent yet thorough watering is best, but bear in mind that water will not percolate rapidly through the soil. In a sandy loam, however, water percolates easily through the soil. In that case, lower volumn and more frequent watering is best. To determine if trees should be watered, insert a screwdriver into the soil. If it penetrates easily, the soil is moist and no water is needed.
2. Mulch the Root System:Mulching preserves soil moisture and moderates soil temperatures, keeping it within the range that roots prefer. Mulch also controls weeding and helps keep lawn mowers and string trimmers - leading cause of trunk damage - at a distance. Mulch should be 2 to 4 inches deep and cover the entire planting hole and soil berm. It should not touch the plant.
3. Delay Fertilizing: A rule of thumb is that newly planted trees & shrubs should not be fertilized during the first year or two; the only exception would be those planted in nutritionally poor soils. Incorrect fertilizing can hurt the root system and damage the plant so follow package directions.
4. Limit Staking: The purpose of staking is to prevent the root ball from rocking, not to prevent the top of the tree from swaying in the wind. For most trees, one or two stakes is sufficient. Fasten the stake to the trunk with rubber strapping. All staking should be removed after one year.
5. Prune Lightly: Carefully inspect your new plant and remove any dead, broken, or diseased limbs at planting time. Aside from that, newly planted trees and shrubs need no pruning. It generally takes one year per inch of trunk diameter when planted for a woody plant to become established, so hold off any structural pruning until then.