Potted Plants Tips

Potted plants take many shapes and forms inside and outside of the house. Potted plants serve as decorative additions to the home and have functional aspects that benefit gardeners. Pots house herbs and vegetables gardens and serve as container garden to enhance the outdoor living space.

Fertilizer

Potting soil serves as the base for most potted plants. The material isn't actually soil, but instead contains soil-like materials that nurture plants. Potting soil consists of peat moss, sand and a mineral material called perlite that enhances water-holding capacity of the mixture. Potting soil is essentially soilless and doesn't contain clay, sand or silt. For this reason, potting soil has few nutrients. Potted plants need regular fertilizer applications to thrive in the tight confines of a plant pot. Constant watering causes the few nutrients in potting soil to rinse out the drainage holes with every watering. Apply a time-release fertilizer to the top of the soil in the pot. The granulated beads will release nutrients with every watering.

Planting Large Pots

Large plants provide a dramatic floral and foliage display in any living space. The huge containers require an enormous amount of potting soil as well as muscle to move the planter around the porch, patio or deck. Tackle this problem by purchasing packing peanuts to fill the bottom of the planter. Pour the light Styrofoam balls in the bottom of the planter. Allow 10 to 12 inches above the packing peanuts for annual plant roots and 12 to 18 inches for perennial plants. Place a layer of newspaper with holes between the Styrofoam and soil to stabilize the soil. If you're worried about the plant tipping over, fill one-third of the planter with loose shredded mulch. This medium is lighter and less expensive than potting soil. Don't use eco-friendly corn-based packing chips, as they dissolve in water.

Pot Colors

Pot colors directly affect the health of an outdoor plant. A dark-colored pot will absorb more sun than a light colored planter. This can dry out the soil and damage the plants' roots. Choose and place planters carefully to maximize the use of the container without compromising the health of the plant. Reserve darker colored planters for partial shade or shade locations.

Pruning

Plant lovers need to have two types of pruning shears for use around the home and garden. Pruning shears work like regular scissors but have a tougher, sharper blade. Bypass or pruning shears feature two hooked sharp blades for cutting flower stems and foliage. Prune back damaged or wilted foliage as soon as possible to allow the potted plant to redirect energy to healthy portions of the plant. Clip back dead flowers with a quick snip where the flower head joins the stem to regenerate and neaten the plant. Always dispose of pruned leaves, stems, flowers and branches in the compost pile or garbage to avoid spreading disease or pests to healthy portions of the plant.

Keywords: potted plant tips, container garden tips, container gardens

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.