Watering Containers in the Summer

July 11, 2018 | By Roundtree Landscaping

Watering in Texas is tricky enough - but when you add the summer heat and container plantings into the mix, it gets even trickier. In today’s blog we offer some tips to help your container plants last and thrive all through a Texas summer and into the fall.

First and foremost, pick a good quality container. Small pots will continually need water, so make sure you are choosing a pot large enough to support your plant’s root ball once it puts on some growth. Glazed pots are a better choice as they are slower to evaporate water than their naked terra cotta counterparts. Of course, make sure there are drain holes in the bottom of your container, and if not, drill some before filling with soil.

This shade loving combo is thriving in a glazed pot.

The second most important piece is the soil you use. Choose a potting soil that holds water, without becoming soggy. If you plant tropicals or annuals, adding some organic matter such as compost, or a soil conditioner, can be helpful during the summer months to increase water holding capacity. Coir is a good natural amendment that can help your containers maintain more even moisture.  If you choose more drought tolerant plants, add some bark, decomposed granite, expanded shale, or sand to loosen the mix and improve drainage.

Watering container plants doesn’t fit on a schedule like your lawn irrigation. Each type of plant requires a different amount of water, so it’s important to check the soil in your pots every few days. Group your container plantings by water requirements, just as you would do in the landscape. Also, the location of your pots makes a difference. Container plants in full sun that receive an extra beating from reflective heat will need more water than those in the shade. Many containers will need daily watering during July and August in Texas.

Higher water usage plants--scaevola and pentas--were planted separately from low water usage succulents.

Water your container plants in the morning or evening. If you water in the middle of the day, the scorching sun can evaporate a lot of the water before is it able to be fully absorbed by the plants. Make sure to water deeply, until water exits the drain holes, to fully saturate your soil. If you soil is wet to the touch, there’s no need to water.

We suggest adding drip irrigation to your container plantings. A drip system can be connected into your existing irrigation system, with lines run to individual container plantings. Incorporating a drip system will help you spend less time lugging a hose around, and easily allow you to water while you are away. Add a Smart Controller and you’ll be able to control your watering while you’re away on vacation!

The trick to keeping container plants alive during our Texas summers is water—correctly and frequently. Stressed plants never look their best, so call us if you need help with your container plantings.


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