10 Tips for Healthy Container Plants: Part 1

Sunflower1. Do not overwater. Probably the biggest mistake that new container gardeners make is overwatering their container plants. Watering too much is more often worse for plants than not providing enough water. When plant roots are submersed in water for too long, they don’t get enough oxygen and the roots rot. Overwatering can also cause mushrooms and fungus in the container's soil, which will attract fungus gnats in your balcony garden. Learn more about watering>>

2. Do not let the plants dry out. While overwatering is more often a problem, make sure your container plants do not dry out in the hot sun. Porous plant containers, such as terra cotta and containers with coconut lining, dry out quickly in the sun and heat. Water often in the summer months and consider providing shade for plants, otherwise sun can burn plant leaves. Learn more about how heat and sun can affect your plants >>

3. Use potting soil. For most of your container plants, potting soil is the best media to use in the balcony garden. Other soils, such as regular garden soils, will compact in the pot and not allow for decent drainage. Potting soil will hold moisture, but will also allow for drainage for healthy plant roots. Learn more about potting soil >>

4. Provide enough light. Light can be difficult to come by on balcony gardens. Many balcony gardeners have to grow low-light plants or nothing at all. On the other hand, some southern-facing balcony gardens can get extremely hot (much hotter than at ground level) and bake your container plants during the summer. If you don’t have much light on your balcony garden, check out this list of plants that thrive in shady conditions>>

5. Provide large enough containers. Face it, you can’t grow a gorgeous bird of paradise in a 3-gallon plant container. If you want a large plant, invest in a large container. But don’t forget about the weight limit of your balcony – you may want to check with your apartment manager if you want to keep very large plant containers. If you want to keep tiny displays, like a coffee cup filled with baby’s tears, you can easily do that on a balcony. (Just remember that smaller  plant containers dry out faster and need to be watered more!)

Go to Part 2 of "10 Tips for Healthy Container Plants."

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