The Q&A Archives: Planting flower pots - Should I use gravel for drainage?

Question: I have rather large pots and have had trouble in the past with keeping flowers alive in them. I think it's b/c of the drainage so I

Answer: Kate,

I am sorry for this delayed reply to your gardening question. We are transitioning to a new Q&A system and your question was unfortunately lost in the transition. I have discovered it now and hope this reply is not too late to be of help.

Gravel in the bottom won't improve drainage. The keys to well drained containers are to make sure that there are drainage holes in the base (and that the holes are not clogged), and also to use a quality growing mix for the container soil. Some mixes tend to be "mucky" and end up settling down and creating a poorly aerated and poorly drained condition in the plant's root zone. Good mixes have perlite or vermiculite to help improve the mix's internal drainage.

Water enough to moisten the soil and then allow it to dry out a bit before watering again. The frequency of watering will depend on the container size in comparison to the plant size, amount of sun, how fine or coarse the growing mix is, and the type of plant being grown.

Thanks for the question. Please stop in again soon!

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