The Q&A Archives: Controlling Algae in Container Planting

Question: How can I control algae that is growing in the over-flow saucers underneath my container plants? It is unsightly, and I would like to eliminate it without injuring my gardenias, camellias, fuchsias, and azaleas!

Answer: Algae blooms in the saucers beneath your plants because there's constant moisture and little air circulation. It's harmless, but can be unsightly. The easiest way to remove it is to scrub the saucers periodically, using hot sudsy water and rinsing in a 10 percent bleach solution. If it's not possible to lift the plants and remove the saucers, you may have to use a sponge or cloth to swab the green stuff from the saucers. I always tip my plants to empty the saucers as much as possible after the soil stops draining. That allows the remaining moisture to evaporate and keeps algae from growing.

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