Ship Shape Container Tips

  • Want to change the look of your container garden? "Paint" your terra cotta, stone, or concrete containers with yogurt. It encourages the growth of moss. You’ll have a classic-looking garden in no time at all!
  • If your potted plants seem to be drying out quicker than a cat on a hot tin roof, try mulching them with very fine gravel. Remember to wash the gravel first to remove any dust or debris, and then spread it from 1/4" to 1/2" thick over the soil around your plants. With smaller pots, you can also place each plant, pot and all, in a container filled with peat moss. The moss acts as an insulator and helps the plants hold their moisture.
  • Watch your hanging baskets, too. If a basket gets very dry, take it down and let it stand in a bucket half filled with water for an hour or so until the soil is thoroughly wet.
  • Empty the contents of used tea bags on the soil around your plants and cover with mulch. As you water your garden, the tea leaves will decompose and nourish your plants’ roots.
  • To get your bromeliads to bloom, try putting them (pot and all) in a clear plastic bag with an apple. Keep ’em in the bag and out of direct sun for about a week. The apple will give off ethylene gas, and start the flowering process.
  • If the lower leaves of your plants are breaking or rotting off, it could be your pot that’s the problem. Smooth the edges of the pot by rubbing an old wax candle along the rim. This will give your plants a nice, smooth edge to lean against.
  • Watch out for extreme temperatures; with the end of September comes cold weather, and that can mean trouble for your container gardens. If your plants are going to be outdoors during the chilly temperatures, set the pots in a large plastic bag, and add a bunch of straw, sawdust, leaves, or other packing material. Next, place the pot on a block of wood. This will help to insulate the plant roots, and the pot itself, against the effects of the cold weather. Also, try to move your plants to a sheltered spot, where they’ll have some protection from the cold winds.

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