Tips for caring for potted plants

Potted plants need somewhat different care than those in the ground. Having less substrate, there comes a time when it will be necessary to transplant them into larger pots, since otherwise they would not be able to grow and, in addition, they could become very weak.

To avoid this, we are going to give you a series of tricks to take care of your potted plants. 

Index

  • 1 Irrigation tricks
    • 1.1 1.- How to check the humidity of the soil
    • 1.2 2.- Watering at the best possible time
  • 2 Choose the best substrate
    • 2.1 1.- What is the best substrate for plants?
    • 2.2 2.- Do not forget to fertilize
    • 2.3 3.- Nor to transplant
    • 2.4 4.- Put coffee filters to avoid losing substrate
  • 3 The plants, sorted and labeled
    • 3.1 1.- Sort your plants by types
    • 3.2 2.- Labels to keep track of your plants
  • 4 Turn anything into a flower pot

Irrigation tricks

Watering can

1.- How to check the humidity of the soil

Irrigation is essential for plants to grow and live. But how to do it correctly? Checking the humidity of the earth. How? There are several ways:

  • Introducing a thin wooden stick (such as the one used in Japanese restaurants): if it comes out clean when extracted, it is because the substrate is very dry and, therefore, it must be watered.
  • Introducing a soil moisture meter.
  • Taking the pot just after watering it, and again a few days later. This way you will know when it weighs little, or what is the same, when it has to be watered.

Also, keep in mind that, if you have plants indoors, the dish under the pots must be emptied 30 minutes after watering.

2.- Watering at the best possible time

By the way, do you know what is the best time to water? At noon? No. The plants have to be watered either early in the morning or late in the evening . This makes better use of water. Avoid wetting the flowers and leaves, as they end up damaging them.

Choose the best substrate

Basil

1.- What is the best substrate for plants?

As important as water is land. Potted plants need well-draining soil , otherwise their roots will rot. Not all plants need the same substrate, so let’s see which one we should choose depending on the type of plant it is:

  • Acid-loving plants (maples, azaleas, camellias, etc.): a specific substrate must be used for them, although if you live in a warm climate, such as the Mediterranean, the best option is to mix 70% akadama with 30% kiryuzuna .
  • Aquatic plants: black peat can be used alone, but it is advisable to put a first layer of river sand or volcanic clay first.
  • Flowering herbaceous plants: they are very resistant, so a universal growing medium can be used without any problem.
  • Woody ornamental plants (trees and shrubs, including climbers): it is highly recommended to mix 50% black peat with 40% perlite and 10% powdered organic fertilizer (worm humus, for example).
  • Palm trees: it is advisable to mix 60% coconut fiber with 30% perlite and 20% powdered organic fertilizer.
  • Succulents (succulent and cacti) and caudiciform plants: so that they grow wonderfully and do not rot, you can mix 70% pumice or coconut fiber with 30% black peat.
  • Horticultural plants: it is recommended to mix 60% black peat with 30% powdered organic fertilizer (worm humus, horse manure, or even compost) with 10% perlite.

2.- Do not forget to fertilize

The substrate can end up without nutrients, so it must be fertilized  in spring and summer, either with mineral or organic fertilizers. The first ones are very good, but they don’t quite provide everything the plants need. It is true that both Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK) are essential for them to live, but they are not the only ones.

Organic fertilizers usually contain, in addition, those microelements that will guarantee the correct development of plants and, as if that were not enough, will keep them healthy. For this reason, it is always better to fertilize one month with a mineral fertilizer and the following month with an organic one , rather than using only mineral fertilizers.

3.- Nor to transplant

The potted plant must be changed (and the substrate renewed) every time the roots become visible if we look at the drainage holes, at the end of winter, or in spring in the case of indoor plants. To do this, tap on different sides of the pot, carefully remove the plant, and plant it in a new pot that is at least 4cm wider.

In the event that you see that it has roots that have become entangled outside the pot, it is best to try to untangle them , especially if it is a woody plant or a palm tree. If necessary, take a pair of scissors and carefully cut the pot.

4.- Put coffee filters to avoid losing substrate

That a pot has drainage holes is essential so that the water can come out, but that the substrate also ends up coming out is something that nobody likes. To avoid this, you can put coffee filters , which will let the water out, but not the dirt. In this way, you avoid having to buy bags of substrate so often.

The plants, sorted and labeled

Label

1.- Sort your plants by types

If you are like me who likes all plants, the ideal is that you order them by type. For example, on a table that is exposed to direct sunlight, put the cacti and succulents; in another that is in semi-shade, put acidophilic plants, etc. In this way, it will be much easier for you to take care of them.

2.- Labels to keep track of your plants

If you want to have a collection of plants, or if you are going to sow seeds, it is highly recommended that you put a label with the name of the plant, and the sowing date if applicable. This way you will be able to have better control over all your plants, and you won’t get any surprises, such as what would happen if one of which you don’t know the name or anything germinates.

You can use a permanent marker to make it last longer. Of course, you should know that if it is going to be very exposed to the sun, it will be erased over time. Therefore, when you see that you start to have problems understanding what you put on the label, review it.

Another option is to write on the pot, and then cover it with clear tape.

Turn anything into a flower pot

flowers in bucket

Nowadays, the human being pollutes a lot. As soon as something is a bit broken, you throw it away and buy a new one. That is a big mistake. The plants will not care if they are in an old or broken pot, in a pot or in a tire . So don’t hesitate to use anything, I repeat, anything (yoghurt or milk containers, buckets, wheelbarrows,…) to have an incredible patio. Just make sure it has holes for water drainage.

We hope that these tips and tricks will help you to take care of your potted plants and, above all, to avoid pests and diseases, which appear when an error occurs in the crop.

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