1) Choose the pots:
Almost anything can be used as a container for plants, so what type of pot you choose depends upon your style preference and budget. Earthen pots support the plants best as they are porous. If you prefer lightweight containers, which are easy to move around, look for resin, fiberglass, and plastic pots. These pots require less irrigation being non porous. Make certain that there are one or more holes in the bottom of your container to allow excess water to flow out freely. Insufficient drainage can cause roots to drown, and the plant to die prematurely.
2) Choose the potting mix:
It is a loose and light mixture of materials like peat moss, vermiculite, and often decomposed organic matter like leaf manure. If you are planting succulents or cacti, use a mix especially formulated for them. Preferably do not use soil from the garden. It can be filled with weed seeds, insects, and fungal diseases. In case you are using garden soil then use only 1/3 of it in the total mixture. Buy potting soil at your local garden center.
3) Choose the plants:
Make â€œRight plant, right placeâ€ your motto. You must take into consideration the conditions of your space. Donâ€™t try to grow a flower like a roseâ€•which requires six hours of full sunâ€•on a porch that gets only an hour in the early morning. Do your homework, ask for advice and determine which plants will thrive in the available sun or shade.
When deciding what to buy, the simplest approach is to use one kind of plant per pot. Transplant two to three seedlings per pot. If you choose to combine multiple types of plants, make sure they all like the same light and moisture conditions. Don’t put a cactus and a pansy together in one pot and expect them to get along.
4) Prepare the pots:
If your containers are large, place them where theyâ€™ll ultimately go before filling them. Once they are full and watered, they may be too heavy to move. Place broken pot over the hole(s) in the bottom of the empty pot before filling. This will prevent the potting mix from washing out but will still allow water to escape.
Fill the container with the soil. Put in enough potting mix so the base of the plant (where the stem sprouts from the soilâ€™s surface) is about 1 inch from the top of the pot (to help visually estimate, position your plant while itâ€™s still in its nursery container). Before planting, pat down the soil lightly with your fingers to eliminate any big air pockets. Donâ€™t pack it down too hard.
5) Pot the plant:Â
I Remove the plant from its nursery container. (Itâ€™s a good practice to water plants in their original containers at least an hour before transplanting. This will ease their removal and diminish transplant shock.) Support the top of the â€œroot ballâ€ (the semisolid mass of soil and roots) by placing a finger on each side of the stem; then tip the pot and let the plant fall gently into your hand. Never pull a plant out by its stem. If it is stuck, tap the sides of the pot to loosen it. Carefully fill in with small handfuls of soil. Pat gently to eliminate air pockets. Do not pile soil on top of the plantâ€•make sure the stem is completely above the surface. Leave about an inch between the soil surface and the rim of the pot.â€¨
Water the container. This will settle the roots into their new home. If the soil level drops below the top of the root ball, add additional mix to bring it back up.
If you plant in the spring and the weather is mild, you can probably water about once a week. As the summer continues, plants need more water. Not only is the warm weather evaporating the moisture before the plant can use it, the plants need more water as they grow larger. Hanging plants and small pots may need watering twice a day (best times are morning and evening); once a day is enough for large pots.
Water your plants until the water comes out of the drainage holes. That way you know the soil is getting moisture all the way to the bottom. Water the soil, not the leaves and flowers. Wetting the foliage can lead to fungal diseases and sometimes scorched spots on leaves.
Donâ€™t worry if plants and flowers look wilted (Temporary wilting)in the hottest time of the day. As long as the top of the soil is moist, you probably donâ€™t need to water. Wilting is a self-protective mechanism to prevent too much moisture loss from the root area. Wait and see if the plants perk up after the sun goes down.
Donâ€™t let pots sit in water; this can cause root rot and death. If you are using saucers, empty them after you water and after it rains.
Plants growing in containers need more fertilizing than those in the ground. The more you water, the more quickly you flush the nutrients out of the soil. Itâ€™s good to use a time-release fertilizer when planting (organic manures or time release fertilizers). If you want really healthy and happy plants, feed them a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer every couple of weeks according.
Pinching or cutting off faded blooms, known as deadheading, is essential. It encourages a plant to keep producing more flowers.
Some plants have so many tiny flowers and stems, it would be too time-consuming to snip or pick off individual flower heads. For those types, itâ€™s best to shear the whole plant back to about two-third of its size. It will look â€œwhacked/damagedâ€ for about a week, but you will soon be rewarded with a flush of new buds and blooms. Some flowering plants are â€œself-cleaning,â€ meaning they donâ€™t generally require deadheading. These are usually prolific bloomers covered in smallish flowers, which just shrivel up and almost disappear on their own. Some examples are impatiens and mini petunias. If they start to flag late in the summer, cut back the plant by one-third to rejuvenate blooming.