I've always been a firm believer in having potted plants in my house. Not only do they make it look better, they improve air quality, help stave off illness and just make it a nicer place to be. Here's how you get spectacular potted plants in 11 easy steps:
1. Use pots with holes at the bottom
It’s essential that you use pots that have at least one hole at the bottom so water can flow out freely when watering. If draining is insufficient, a plant’s roots will likely drown, causing it to die prematurely.
2. Invest in potting mix
Don’t bother using soil out of your yard or garden for your potted plants, because it can be filled with weed seeds, insects and fungal diseases. The best thing to do is head to your local garden center and and buy a potting mix that contains a time-release fertilizer and moisture-retaining polymer crystals.
3. Choose the right plant for your space or spaces
It’s not good placing a potted plant that requires six hours of full sunlight per day in a space in your home that only receives a maximum of one or two. Do your homework to find out which plants work best in certain spaces, or ask staff at your local garden center to make a recommendation with regard to the plants you should choose for a particular space.
4. Stand your pots where you plan to keep them
This tip is particularly relevant if you’re going to be using large pots, because they may be too heavy to move once you’ve filled them with your potting mix and and watered them.
5. Place coffee filters or broken pot shards at the bottom of your pots
Doing this will stop your potting mix from flowing away once you water your plants, but still allows water to flow away as needed.
6. Check your potting mix’s correct moisture content before pouring it
Read the directions on the bag of potting mix you’ve bought to find out how to wet it properly. As a general rule, you need to add water just a little at a time and knead the mixture with your hands until it feels like a damp sponge.
7. Fill your pots with the potting mix
Fill your pot or pots until the top of the soil is an inch lower than the top of the pot. Pat down the soil lightly with your fingers to eliminate any air pockets, but don’t pat down too hard.
8. Pot your plants
Remove your plant or plants from their nursery containers. Support the top of the root ball, which is the semisolid mass of soil and roots, by placing a finger on each side of the stem. Tip the pot and let the plant fall gently into your hand. Do not pull the plant out by its stem.
Next, carefully pot your plants, ensuring the stem is completely exposed. Water your pots after you’ve potted your plants. If the soil level drops down past the top of a plant’s root ball, add additional potting mix to bring it up back to a level that’s one inch under the height of the rim of your pot.
9. Water your plants correctly
If you’ve planted in spring and the weather is mild, water your plants just once per week. As summer starts to come around, however, you need to up this to twice per day – preferably once in the morning and once in the evening. Water until the water comes out of the draining holes in your pots. Doing so ensures that your soil is moisturized all the way through to the bottom.
Don’t water the leaves and flowers of your plants, because you could make them ill with fungal diseases.
10. Feed your plants
Buy a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer and fertilize your plants every couple of weeks, in line with package directions.
11. Deadhead your plants every so often
Pinching or cutting off a plant’s faded blooms from time to time is essential for its health and appearance, and encourages it to produce more flowers. In the event that your plants have many tiny flowers, making deadheading too consuming, shear them back to one-third of their size to encourage a flush of new buds and blooms.
Content Source: RealSimple