Coastal and Tropical South

April, 2005
Regional Report

Empty Plant Saucers

If pots don't drain, roots rot. If water that has run through the pot sits in the saucer below, it will be reabsorbed by the roots, and possibly cause them or burn them. The refuse water is waste, and unusable to the plant. Dump the saucers out, or use a turkey baster to empty them.

Submerge Pots in Water Garden

Yes, you can grow container plants in ponds and other water features. Water lilies, cannas, LA iris, and white swamp spider lilies grow well in pots submerged up to their necks. Using potted plants in and around the water makes the plants easier to remove when it's time to clean.

Consider Pros and Cons of Plastic and Clay Pots

Plastic pots are solid material; clay pots are porous. These qualities determine one thing: how often you need to water. Clay pots dry out faster, circulate air better around roots, and reflect more heat than plastic. But plastic pots forgive forgotten waterings, are lighter in weight, and come in more colors.

Deterring Birds From Nesting in Hanging Baskets

House wrens are notorious for building nests in newly hung ferns, petunias, and other hanging baskets with loose soil and soft leaves. You can abandon the plants and enjoy the birds and fledglings, or choose cacti and rough-leaved plants like lantana for the swinging baskets on the porch.

Use Soluble Fertilizer for Containers

Soluble fertilizers are those mixed with water and poured (and sometimes sprayed) on plants. Keep two on hand for the container garden: a balanced formula like 20-20-20 to promote healthy leaves, and one that's lower in nitrogen (the first number) than the other nutrients to promote flowering. Mix only what you'll use right away; don't store fertilizer solutions.

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