The Q&A Archives: Container Planting

Question: Please help. I usually use little pieces of fiberglass screen to cover the drainage holes in my plastic pots...then some rocks..then soil. I ran out of screen so put the rocks in first then added 2-3 sheet of newspaper..then soil. Now, I am worried that perhaps the paper is impeding the drainage. Should I repot. Also, are the foam shipping peanuts good to use for all plants at the bottom of pot. I have hibiscus and gardenias that are most important to me. My bouganvillea is suffering from shock, too or the newspaper holds in too much water. Thank you.

Answer: I don't think it's necessary to repot your plants. A few sheets of newspaper will not hinder drainage in your containers. Once it gets wet it should conform to the shape of the rocks, and eventually it will decompose. I'd advise against the styrofoam peanuts, however. They tend to float and create air pockets which can cause drying of the roots. You can use them as filler in very large containers, providing you seal them in plastic bags so they won't work their way to the surface. As for the bougainvillea... these plants really resent having their roots disturbed. The plant should recover it time. Just try not to replant it very often. Good luck with your new plants!

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