Diseases, Pests and Weeds
Fertilizers, Manures and Feeding
Flowering Plants
Garden Design and Planning
Gardening Terms (Glossary)
Gardening Tips
Gardening Tools
Indoor, Foliage and Shade Plants
Leaves, Roots and Flowers
Light Requirements
Planting and Transplanting
Pots and Potted Plants
Pruning and Pinching

Pots and Potted Plants

The biggest advantage of pots is that they are portable. You can place a potted annual in the sun to develop good flowers and then put it back in partial shade where it normally wouldn't bloom. You can remove pots to the shade or shift them indoors if the midday sun is too hot for the plants, or you can take indoor plants out for sun when they need it. Truly, pots are a great invention.

Pots limit vegetative growth (growth of roots, leaves and shoots) but do not necessarily hamper flowering. You can even grow trees in them. In fact, the restrictive root area often gives a better fruit/flower to leaf ratio.

Small pots usually look better than big ones. They can yield abundant flowers. But small pots hold less soil and consequently fewer nutrients. This may be okay for short-term plants like annuals and in fact advantageous to some plants like nascurciums but not for long,term plants like shrubs and perennials. They need more long-term and sustained supply of nutrients. This can be accomplished by feeding repeatedly and changing with fresh soil every year.

For ceramic, cement and plastic pots the soil must be porous. However, cacti and other water, retentive plants are better off in clay pots as these are air permecable. Incidentally black plastic pots can tolerate the sun, others do not, so they should be used indoors.

When buying clay pots clank them with a small pebble to check the soundness of baking. Inadequately baked pots will sound dull when clanked. These will disintegrate faster, so avoid them.

To prevent clay pots from looking shabby, line the inside with a plastic bag or paint it up. Since both these methods reduce porosity of the pot, the soil mixture used must be loose to allow air into the root zone.

Concrete pots are good, but too heavy. They impart some alkalinity to the soil they hold, which is fine for cacti and ferns.

Never arrange pots of different sizes in a straight line, as it looks very disharmonious.

Pots can be sunk in the ground yielding a natural look to the plant. Of course they will need more Watering than ground plants but less than plants kept on cemented surfaces. The roots of the plants in these pots will find a passage into the ground through the drainage hole and get their moisture directly from the ground. One disadvantage is that the plants grow bigger, since the roots are unhindered. If you want to limit the size of the plant re..move the plant, and cut off any roots, which may be emerging out of the drainage hole.

When arranging an array of pots bear in mind that, straight, line arrangements are only appropriate for walls and pathways. Otherwise cluster arrangements as shown in the picture look more harmonious and natural. Pots that are bigger than the plant itself steal away too much attention and look unattractive. It is better that your arrangement conceals more of the pots than expose them.

Repotting a plant is necessary if the pot becomes root bound. This leaves the plant with little soil to pick up its nutrition from. The plant may be transferred into a bigger pot, planted in the ground or returned to its original pot after pruning one-third of its roots and adding fresh soil Removing a plant from a pot, root, soil and all (depotting) becomes easy if the soil is allowed to dry up prior to removal. Drying makes the soil shrink allowing the root ball to literally slip out with a tap or two.


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