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Article Archive >> Home & Garden

What's Hot in Pots? Protecting Your Investment

What's Hot in Pots? Protecting Your Investment

(ARA)- Ah the flower pot--it's one of gardening's most under appreciated, abused tools. Yet it is also one of the most important factors in the health of your potted plants--both outdoors in the warm weather and indoors in winter.
"By preserving your flower pots, you are protecting your investment on a number of levels," says Bob Gillingham, president of Plant Stand Inc. "Pot health is essential for plant health, so keeping your pots in good condition helps keep your plants hearty. The pots themselves can be costly to replace, and pots that are damaged or that have improper drainage can harm your plants, as well as carpet, wood floor or the wood of your deck."
Whether it is a practical clay pot purchased for $20 from your local home improvement store, or a decorative ceramic piece costing over $100, all pots have some common health requirements:
* Give Them a Lift
Proper drainage is a top priority for pot and plant health, Gillingham says. Drainage holes at the bottom of the pot move excess water away from the plant's roots, and a tray beneath the pot is supposed to catch the water. In reality, two problems occur. First, your terra cotta or ceramic pot may end up sitting in a puddle inside the tray, which can shorten the pot's usable life. And, if you really over water your plant--and most of us do--the catch tray will overflow and water can pool, unseen, underneath the tray, causing damage to your carpet, wood floor or deck.
Never leave a flower pot sitting directly on your carpet, wooden floor, deck or patio. Instead, use a product like the Down Under Plant Stand to raise the pot and catch tray off the floor. This allows air to circulate under the pot and tray to evaporate the excess water and condensation. Also, consider placing the plant stand under the pot but inside the catch tray. Again, this will aid in drainage and evaporation, and make it easier to see whether you've over watered.
The Down Under Plant Stand uses four plastic arms to lift the pot off the floor, promoting air flow and proper drainage that protect the pot and plant. The stand can be adjusted to fit virtually any size pot by simply trimming off the excess length on each support arm so it hides under the pot.
* Location, Location, Location
It may seem an obvious bit of advice to say: Don't place your flower pot where it might be "in the line of fire" from cars, kids and pets. But Gillingham regularly hears from customers who have backed over their favorite flower pots with the family car, or whose English sheepdog knocked the pot off the deck with his tail.
Similarly, it makes sense to place the pot on a level surface, preferably in a spot sheltered from the wind. Be sure to choose a setting that receives the amount of sunlight or shade required by the plant.
* Seal of Approval
Consider spraying your terra cotta or concrete pots with a sealant such as Spray N' Seal Pottery Sealer. The sealant protects against water seepage and staining of the pot by salts and alkaline, and also prevents the growth of moss and mildew on the exterior of the pots. It also strengthens the pot against chipping and flaking.
Be sure to use a product, like Spray N' Seal that is safe for the plants and environmentally friendly. Sealing your pots can double their usable lifespan.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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