Weather-wise, we don’t know what we’ll get until we get it. This past Spring has taught us that. With that in mind, it is important to take steps in our container planting to be prepared for weather extremes.
If we get a hot and dry summer, it is practical to replace small pots (less than 14” in diameter) with larger, deeper pots. BIG pots hold a lot of soil and soil holds water. It’s quite simple: large pots dry out less frequently than small pots. Plants that do not experience the extreme stress/de-stress/stress/de-stress patterns remain lush, full of bloom and healthy.
Therefore, instead of three or five small pots scattered on the stairs to your front door, consider one or two large pots (18”+) at the base of the stairs. A visitor’s eye will be instantly drawn to it and its largesse will allow for spectacular and welcoming plant arrangements, with minimal care.
In case of a wet, cloudy summer, do take care that any pot you choose has drain holes for excess water to escape. Yes, water will leak out of the holes and get on your deck or patio, but it’s just water. Sweep or mop it away. It is extremely important that plants not sit in excess water or in constantly wet soil.
A large pot can be expensive to fill with proper Container Soil. Remembering that soil holds moisture, find a balance between using “filler” and topping up with soil. If the environment is windy, add bricks or rocks to the bottom of the pot. If the need to move the pots easily is priority, then use unused nursery pots flipped into the bottom of the pot or pieces of large Styrofoam. At least 50% of the large pot should be soil to make the moisture retentive soil work in your favour.
By Vikki Whitney, Owner of Griffin’s Greenhouses
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