The Q&A Archives: Outdoor Potted Plants

Question: I have a number of potted outdoor plants - Star Jasmine, Lantana, Azaleas, a Aloe Vera plant, and other flowering plants. They have sparse leaves and are not flowering as they should. The Aloe vera plant has turned yellow. I use slow release fertilizer spikes, and a moisture meter to avoid over/under watering them. Do they need iron?

Answer: Potted plants are usually potted up in soilless potting mix so iron should not be something you need to apply. Soilless potting soil is neutral to slightly acidic. The only time iron might be needed is if you used garden soil instead of potting soil and your soil is quite alkaline. If this is the case, use a ferilizer with added iron.

Plants in containers can suffer from root damage due to hot afternoon sunshine heating up the root systems and practically baking them. This root stress can make the plants look pale and reduce healthy growth. If the plants are in containers sitting in the hot sunshine, try to shield them in some way - grouping the pots together, for instance, or setting a decorative stone on the sunny side to help protect the roots. Aside from the above, feeding regularly (use a half strength dilution of water soluable ferilizer such as Miracle Gro or Peter's and apply every 2-3 weeks) and water as necessary. Your plants should thrive. Hope you see an improvement soon!

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