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terracotta container garden

How to Keep Your Patio Garden Beautiful until Frost - Maintenance Tips for Container Plantings

Watering  is most important!

Flowerpots should be kept moist, not wet. They may dry out after just one hot day but may be all right in dry soil until the next morning’s watering.  If plants can't make it for 24 hours without water you'll need to water them in the evening as well. Smaller containers will dry out faster than larger ones . . .(obviously) and terracotta dries out faster than glazed ceramic and plastic. Consider getting a deck irrigation kit with a small, battery operated water timer attached at your faucet. These kits are inexpensive and really easy to install. You'd be amazed at how lush your container plantings can be with proper watering.

Fertilizing

Fertilize the plants with liquid 10-15-10 or 20-20-20, or similar every 2-3 weeks. If you don't mind a little bit of a fishy seaweed smell and want to stay organic, use a mix of liquid seaweed and fish emulsion. Not wanting that smell lingering around your deck or patio? Then use a liquid fertilizer like Peter's. Wet soil with plain water before watering with fertilizer mix.  Don’t fertilize plants in hot sun.  Always use recommended amount or less.

Trimming

Consistent removal of spent flower blossoms and seed heads keeps the your annuals and perennials flowering continuously. If and when the plants get too long and spindly, as petunias and million bells often do, trim the stems back to the edge of the pot and lightly fertilize so that they will produce fresh growth and more flowers. This may take a couple of weeks. If you can't wait that long, replace the spent plants with new fresh plants.

Notes

Impatiens don’t need to be trimmed or deadheaded.  Trim foliage plants like Coleus and Licorice to control size.

Don’t be worried if there is some yellowing and dropping of leaves as the plants become accustomed to their new environment.  

Many of these plants will flower right up until first frost or snow as long as they are maintained and watered.  Remember that containers under a porch roof of under a roof overhang or even a densely leafed tree will not receive much if any rain water so you need to water them yourself most of the time.

maintenance tips for potted plants

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