Are you planning on finally creating that yard or balcony garden you’ve always wanted? You will see there is nothing to be scared of, the process is quite easy once you learn some basics. All you need is a little time and money to invest, but it will all be worth it in the end. In a previous article we were discussing how to create a balcony garden, and the subject of potting plants came up; thus, today we are going to elaborate on the subject, since knowing how to pot plants is useful in a variety of situations. Potted plants can be placed in outdoor gardens, in winter gardens, on balconies and even indoors. They bring nature and vitality into our homes and lives, and produce fresh oxygen.
The first step is to choose the types of plants and flowers you want to grow, and decide whether you want to grow from seed or from ready sprouted plants. Then, you must find out about the kind of climate they need, the type of soil they thrive in, and how big they grow, because this determines the size of the pots you will need. As such, it is always recommended to grow plants and flowers that are native to your climate, so you won’t go to too much trouble to keep them alive and happy. You will also have to purchase high-quality soil special for plants and flowers, some small gardening tools, some pebbles which you can even acquire for free, and some nutrients, to start adding to the plants once they consume what’s in the soil.
Pots come in various shapes and sizes, so if you want to fit more of them together, go for square ones; choose large pots if you want to plant more types of flowers in one place. This requires a simple technique, where you simply take the sprouts or seeds, and plant them at different depths in the pot, so their roots can develop sufficiently to sustain the plants, while allowing for a unique and striking mixture of colors and textures at the top. This is also a good idea for small spaces, such as indoor or balcony gardens, where you want to make the most out of little resources. Pots with a diameter of at least 12 inches should be used for combinations of plants, and ceramic is one of the better materials because it keeps the soil moist for a longer time.
Check to see if your pots have draining holes; most of them do, but it’s important to check if they’re there, otherwise your plants will drown. If you want to make extra sure the drainage will be perfect and the roots will spread evenly, add a layer of pebbles or ceramic shards at the bottom of the plant; this will also ensure that soil won’t drain with the water, thus leaving the plant without something to fix its roots in. Now take handfuls of soil and add them step by step in the pot; add a layer, then gently press it with your hand, so it’s not too airy, but not too dense either. Do this until there are a few good inches left to the top of the pot. With your finger or a tool, make a hole in the center of the pot; it should be at least 8 inches deep if it’s a seed, and more for a rooted plant. At this stage, how deep you plant your flower depends on its type; annuals should be potted at least 8 inches deep, but how large the plant will grow is also a factor. As such, the best option is to learn something about each flower and plant you wish to have in your garden; if you’re a beginner, you need to learn about the difference between annual and perennial flowers, and learn about the different needs that each plant has. Some types of plants need sun throughout the day, while others are better off with just a few hours of sun. How they prefer they soil is also different; they need different watering schedules, and feeding them with nutrients also has to be done separately in general, depending on how delicate or exotic they are.
If you are re-potting a plant, gently remove it from its previous pot and place it in the new one without removing the soil around its roots; add more soil to complete the pot. Once you’ve done this, gently press your fingers around the stem of the plant, so you make sure it is well hugged by the soil. Now take a watering can and start to water it slowly; this will help the soil settle a bit more, and give the plant a good head-start. You can also add peat pebbles on the surface, to prevent mold from forming, but this is mostly necessary in very humid areas or winter gardens. Now all you have to do is water your plants accordingly, give them as much sunlight as they need, and remember to feed them some nutrients from time to time.
As mentioned above, climate and conditions are very important for the well-being of your plants. If you keep them indoors or on a balcony, you should be able to offer them a constancy of conditions, but if you keep them in your outdoor garden, some of the plants will need to be moved indoors in colder seasons, and perhaps even in rainy days, so they don’t get flooded with water. You may wonder why some would keep potted plants in their outdoor garden; the answer is precisely the fact that they may be more delicate flowers that don’t normally grow in that area, and can only be taken out during warm temperatures; moreover, they may require a special type of soil, which you can ensure by potting them separately.
When keeping your plants indoors, make sure the extra water can drain safely; for this, you can use special plates that collect the extra water, out of which the plant draws more then getting thirsty. Moreover, they can also help protect your floors, be they tile or wood. Plants that grow tall need support, and you can provide this with a simple stick of wood; plants that climb need trellises, which can even look good on a well tended balcony.