Growing plants in pots is great for any garden size or design. Stocking up your patio or balcony with container plants is a great method to bring a burst of colour and fragrance to your garden as well as texture. But when repotting or planting, it’s important to clean containers to reduce the risk of spreading diseases.
Pots and planters
There are so many plants that can be grown in containers, from spring bulb displays full of daffodils and tulips, to textural showstoppers with ivy, ornamental grasses, and hellebores.
Pots and planters are also a good opportunity to grow fruit and veg if you don’t have the means to grow in the ground. Salads, broad beans, peppers, tomatoes, peas, and herbs can all be grown in containers.
Keep them clean
All year round it’s vital to keep an eye on containers to ensure they’re doing their job. Maintaining your pots will make them last so you can get use out of them for years and years.
Spring is a great time to carry out these tasks because this is when you’ll be doing plenty of planting and repotting. There are a few steps to ensure your pots are clean and ready for planting.
What you’ll need:
- Scrubbing brush
- Detergent, soap or washing liquid
1. Check the base of the container for drainage holes. This is essential so plants get the moisture they need rather than sitting in stagnant water which can lead to root rot. Therefore, if there are no holes or they need enlarging use a drill to make sufficient drainage holes.
2. Clean pots immediately before they’re used. This goes for pots that have just been planted in, as well as ones that have been stored in the shed or garage too. Pots can carry pests and diseases, like baby slugs that you don’t want with your plants.
3. Scrub the pots with detergent and warm water, using a scrubbing brush to rid any debris. Rinse with clean water and leave to dry.
Why should I clean containers?
Of course one of the reasons to clean containers is to make them look their best. You don’t just want your plants to be putting on a show, so make sure your pots are pristine for planting.
Secondly, cleaning will reduce the risk of spreading diseases and pests. It’s only a quick task and can save you a lot of hassle and time in the long run.
When your containers are clean with sufficient drainage holes, they’re ready for planting. Before adding in peat-free compost to plant, line the base of the container with rocks or broken pots which will encourage even more efficient drainage. This will stop the drainage holes from getting blocked.
With clean pots and containers, your garden will look gleaming and be ready for a showstopping display full of ornamentals and vegetables. Not only will it help your garden to look great, but will be safer too as there will be less chance of pests and diseases circulating.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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