The Q&A Archives: Old Soil In Outdoor Containers

Question: With spring around the corner, should I empty last year's soil out of my containers before adding new bedding plants, or just stir it up?

Answer: If you had any disease or insect problems you should start with fresh soil, as these pests can overwinter in the soil, rising up to strike again! Otherwise, I suggest you take all of the soil out of the pots (perhaps dumping into a larger bucket) and mix in some fresh soil and fertilizer. Then refill your containers. Annual plants are heavy feeders and they will quickly deplete nutrients. You might want to moisten the soil slightly too, because when it sits in a container and dries out, it's often difficult to water efficiently. The dried soil doesn't absorb the water, and the water runs on through the pot before it can moisten the soil adequately.

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