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guaging amount of watering for outdoor pots/planters - please help

(7 Posts)
sunnyhills Thu 30-Mar-17 09:41:11

I know this is how long is a piece of string .I also know that having plants in the ground is preferable .

But for various reasons I do have pots ,pottery and plastic . I'm ok I think with the smaller ( 3/4 inch etc ) but the bigger they get the harder I find it .
I feel the compost and stick my finger in but it tends to just feel cold .

I guess maybe the type of compost feels different as well - I have some that is gritty ,some that is quite heavy ,some that is light .

I've taken to mixing coir ( very light ,very powdery ) in with a little potting compost and this seems to dry out on top to a different lighter colour .I wonder if this is a helpful guide to the soil underneath it and indicates watering necessary .Or whether it just means that the top has dried out ?

Any advice ? I do tend to overwater I think .

And by the way - Gardners Question time discussed crocks in bottom of pots . I always do this and also always use saucers in the summer ....so do the crocks really ,as suggested ,stop any upward wicking of water ???

bookbook Thu 30-Mar-17 10:17:20

Mm, definitely a piece of string - you are right there.
I don't go on the look/feel of the soil on the top tbh, I go on gut feel smile - do the plants look happy, are they looking a bit droopy, that sort of thing. I don't go in for little and often either - I drench mine, wait to see the water coming out of the bottom properly - not just straight through ( all mine are stood on bricks or stands ) and then leave well alone. As a rule of thumb - the bigger the pot ( I have pieris and bay trees in enormous ones) I water less often than the smaller ones if that makes sense?
I put crocks in too - and saucers in my hanging baskets, along with water crystals .

shovetheholly Thu 30-Mar-17 12:17:23

It's a hard one! In general, I don't water outdoor pots until the weather gets really quite warm. I am very much guided by the weather. Bear in mind, though, that in Sheffield it rains and rains and rains! In London, I'd probably start quite a bit earlier. I will water daily in hot weather.

As book says, you can tell by looking at the plants- you're after very early signs of things being dry, though. If you leave it until there is droop, it's too late and there will be damage (hopefully non-fatal!). I think it's a good rule of thumb to check at least every other day when plants are growing. It's not just for water but any other problems that might be developing. Most stuff in the garden is fixable provided you get on it early.

sunnyhills Thu 30-Mar-17 12:19:28

Thank you bookbook .

I am of the drenching until runs out slowly variety . I suppose in summer I'm more confident ,it's over winter ( I don't water unless the plants look droopy ) and especially now when it's hot one day ,cold the next .Plants growing ,wind drying .

I have some very large pots ( also with Peiris ) and it's those I find tricky . I think I need to restrain myself unless the plant looks droopy .

shovetheholly Thu 30-Mar-17 12:19:53

Oh, and to state the obvious- it really depends on what is in the pot. Dry-loving plants like succulents will die quite easily if they have too much wet. Bog-loving plants will suffer if they dry out even slightly. Plants that are crammed in tight will need much more water than plants with a large amount of compost around them, pot bound plants can really suffer very quickly.

bookbook Thu 30-Mar-17 13:06:30

I do check them just about every day , I go around the garden and just look a lot, so its usually fairly obvious when something is starting to look not right

bookbook Thu 30-Mar-17 13:08:57

Too true shove

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