Pots and containers are perfect for small space gardens and easy for beginners. However, one major issue container gardens face is that they can dry out easily. The roots of the plant cannot travel down into the ground for water, they are completely reliant on us to survive. Here to stop Here in California this issue is exacerbated by our need to reserve water! If you are wondering how to stop your pots from drying out, or how to longer in between watering pots this is the article for you. We have a few key steps that have allowed us to keep our pots looking lush all summer. Plus, one secret addition to the soil that might surprise you..
To keep a pot from drying out, first choose a soil that has lots of nutrients and organic matter. Then add corn starch to retain water. After potting the plant, water generously and finally top with a good layer of mulch. If potting in a clay pot, you should soak the pot before potting up. This will stop the pot from pulling water from the soil.
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1. Choose the right soil for your potted plant.
When growing plants in containers, the soil selection is crucial to your success! Choose a nutritious and well-draining soil that fits the needs of the plant you are going to grow. The plant label will often contain information on the type of soil that is best for your plant. For most of our pots, we like to use Green All Fir Mulch. We then follow step 2 below to add water retention.
2. Add corn starch for water retention
A few years back, on a visit to our local nursery, we noticed that in the hot summer they had containers filled with HUGE beautiful tomato plants all covered with large tomatoes. I asked how they were able to get such amazing results in a container. The answer.. CORN STARCH! Corn starch is the secret ingredient to going longer in between watering plants and having happy plants all summer. Considering I’d had it in the pantry this whole time.
By adding cornstarch to the soil, your soil will be able to retain water for longer and your plants can go longer in between watering
I add more or less depending on the water needs of the plant I am potting up, but generally the advice is to add 2 tablespoons for each gallon of soil.
3. Make sure the first watering is a good one
You Should always start your potted plant off right with a really good drink of water as soon as you plant. This will ensure that the plant doesn’t get shocked by being planted into dry soil. Check out our article on what time of day to water the garden, to learn the ideal time to water your pot moving forward.
4. Top with a thick layer of mulch to keep water in.
Once the plant is in the pot and watered, add a thick layer of a good mulch. Our favorite mulch is Kellog Organic Grow Mulch. We have used this mulch for years to improve our soil and hold in water. A 1-2 inch layer of mulch will protect the soil from losing its water in the sun, keep the pot warmer and also slowly rot in and feed the soil. Win win win!
Final Thoughts on how to stop pots drying out.
To keep your potted plants from drying out, remember to start with good soil, add water retention with corn starch and a good layer of mulch! Using containers or pots is a great way to create a garden in any size space! Follow us on Pinterest to see more on small space gardening and container gardening.