Although plants grown in gardens and landscapes enhance the appearance of yards and parks, container plants provide some special benefits. Growing a plant in a container allows you to move its location and control the amount of sunlight and wind it receives. Potted plants can enhance outdoor locations, such as porches and patios, as well as the interior of homes and businesses. Properly caring for your potted plants can ensure attractive specimens with healthy growth habits.
Regulate Light Exposure
Depending on the variety, plants require different amounts of light to form new growth and keep the foliage green. Although some plants tolerate a range of lighting exposure, others require strict adherence to their requirements. Check the care labels on your potted plants to determine the correct lighting requirements. Keep these labels handy by tucking them deep into the soil, out of sight, or removing them from the pot and placing them under the pot, in the drip pan. Refer to these instructions when moving your potted plants from one location to another.
Avoid placing your potted plants in areas that experience extreme temperature fluctuations. Keep your indoor potted plants away from air conditioners and heating ducts and radiators. Outdoor potted plants, even those that require bright sunlight, may require protection from intense heat. Leaves that curl and appear scorched may be suffering from high heat. If you live in a hot climate, provide a few hours of light shade during the heat of the day. If you live in a cold climate, bring your tender plants indoors before temperatures begin to freeze.
Check your plant label to determine the water requirement. Like lighting requirements, watering requirements vary from plant to plant. Water often enough to maintain the required level of moisture near the roots of your plants. Insert your fingertip beneath the surface of the soil to check for available moisture. Use a water meter, a small device you place in the soil beside your plant, to help you estimate the amount of water and notify you when to apply more.
Transplant to Larger Pots
Keep your potted plants healthy by giving them a new home when they outgrow the old one. A plant with roots forming above the soil or growing through the drainage holes requires a larger pot. Select a pot one size larger than the existing pot. Use sterile potting soil to fill the area beneath and around the rootball. Keep the surface of the plant at the previous height, when transplanting to a new pot.
Potted plants can deplete the soil in the pot of valuable nutrients. Apply a fertilizer to your potted plants during the growing season. Consult the plant label to determine feeding frequency. Most potted plants require one or two applications of time-release fertilizers during their active phases.