The Perfect Pots

Photo credit: Ladue News via FEEDLY

Landscape: Picking the Perfect Pot

  • Pat Raven, Ph.D., and Julie Hess

January makes a fabulous time to plan your spring garden. Kick back, flip through glossy catalogues and dream.

But after you decide what you want to grow, give thought to what to grow it in. Gardening in containers adds opportunity – to give the garden vertical diversity, extra growing space and architectural importance. Every well-appointed portico, lawn panel or patio deserves special attention as you furnish it with these classy garden accessories.

You own statement jewelry. Why not select statement containers for your spring garden?

So – what materials work best?

High-quality containers make a great investment. Prices begin at modest levels, but may rise to thousands of dollars for antique or very large pieces. Also, new tough and durable materials increase container choices.

Today’s plastic pots incorporate ultraviolet-light inhibitors that help them to last more than a season or two. Double-wall designs with thick rolled edges and natural matte finishes lend them a classier look, and built-in self-watering features on some models add convenience. Lighter in weight and resistant to dents, these newer styles nicely suit local gardens.

Read the full article: Ladue News


Growing vegetables in containers anywhere



Growing vegetables in containers provide option when land is a problem

  • Dan Gill, LSU AgCenter Horticulturist

If you have not considered the option of growing vegetables in containers, perhaps you should.

Container gardens provide a way to grow vegetables when suitable land is not available. Apartment dwellers may only have a balcony where pots could be placed. Other gardeners may find that the only areas in their yards that get the full sun vegetables need are covered by concrete.

In addition, growing vegetables in containers is less physically demanding than growing vegetables in the ground. That makes this method good for older gardeners, those who are physically handicapped, young children or anyone who may find cultivating and weeding in-ground beds too physically demanding or time consuming.

Read the full story: Magnolia Reporter

Growing tomatoes from seed



How to Grow Tomatoes from Seed

Tips for Growing Tomato Plants from Seed

Why grow tomatoes from seed? There are always plenty of tomato plants for sale at local garden centers, but for the largest variety you will need to consider growing tomatoes from seed. Since tomatoes are heat lovers, most gardeners don’t have growing seasons long enough to start tomatoes from seed outdoors. To get around that, tomato seeds are often started indoors, under lights.

A word of caution, it’s easy to get carried away buying tomato seeds. A family of four can easily feast throughout the summer on 6 plants.

Read the full article: About Home

Isn’t it time for you to create your personal succulent garden?


Aloe in handmade box at DIRT in Oak Cliff.

Aloe in handmade box at DIRT in Oak Cliff.

How to start growing a healthy succulent garden

by Ann McCormick, Special Contributor

Everywhere I look these days, I see succulents. They are popping up in dish gardens, stone troughs, driftwood planters, garden fountains, and even coffee cups and shot glasses.

Yes, succulents have captured the imagination of the home gardener. With so many of these drought-tolerant houseplants available, isn’t it time for you to create your personal succulent garden?

To get the scoop on caring for these succulent stars, I recently spoke with Bryan Hutson of Calloway’sGreenville store. He pointed out that succulents have been slowly gaining in popularity over the last five years. The rising interest in “green roofs,” vertical gardens, and low-maintenance dish gardens have all included these slow-growing, water-saving plants.

Succulents have a different look and feel than common houseplants. People are looking for a change from the leafy green of ivy, ferns and spider plants.

Read the full article: DALLAS NEWS 

Rosemary as a lucky plant


Photo credit: Google


Gardener’s Notebook – Rosemary seen as a lucky plant


Doesn’t it seem like a long time since we were out in our gardens? It seems like a long time ago since we were bringing in the last of our plants and bulbs. At that time, in the flurry of activity before the cold weather arrived, we brought in our little rosemary plant at the last moment. I was planning to cut the branches to dry them, but guess what, the plant was still so nice and lush that we just let it be, and it is still doing well.

It’s fitting, because as we stand on the brink of a brand new year, I did some research and discovered that rosemary is one of the “lucky” plants for a new year.  It has a whole list of attributes that make it lucky:  it will relax our minds and help to keep us youthful. (The fragrance is wonderful, I think of it as nature’s incense). Rosemary is said to help to increase our brain power, boost our memory and even improve our mood. It reputedly helps with healing and purification.  And who needs cupid when there is rosemary, a plant that is said to attract love!

But for us gardeners, rosemary is a wonderful plant to put on our list for next year. It is a perennial herb that has stems with long, narrow leaves, almost like a spruce branch. It is extremely fragrant and very flavorful (perfect for pork, delicious!) I did some homework and information does say that rosemary is a perennial, although chances are that it will not make through our winters. I remember Mom had a rosemary that did survive one or two winters in her garden, but it was not long-lived.

Rosemary hails from the Mediterranean, so it like sunny locations and can withstand periods of drought (so maybe it does stand a chance in our house after all!). It is easy to grow, requires no special care or special soil (just make sure it has good drainage), and does not have a pest problem.  In fact, if you are tending towards xeriscape gardening, rosemary would be a good choice. If you do your gardening in pots, rosemary also does very well in containers.

Read the full story: Yorkton This Week




By Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM

University of Ghent, Belgium

People are asking me why I am in favour of drilling drainage holes in the sidewall of a container.  Why are those in the bottom not good enough ?

Of course, the classic drainage holes in the bottom are functional. Rain or irrigation water is running through the potting soil towards the bottom.  A possible surplus of water is thus easily evacuated through that single hole or the different holes in the bottom.

However, potting soil contains a high number of bigger and smaller cavities, that are filled with air.  When watering a container (pot, bottle, bucket, barrel, etc.), irrigation water is running rather swiftly towards the bottom of the container.  A number of those cavities are thereby filled with water and air is pushed out.  That is visible e.g. when we immerse a pot in a bucket of water: we see the bubbles leaving the potting soil during a short period, until influent water has pushed out most of the air of the bigger cavities. Even if we do not see bubbles leaving the soil anymore, a certain volume of air is still remaining in the potting soil, namely that in the smallest cavities.

This means that, when watering a container with the classic drainage hole(s) in the bottom, water will run quickly through the potting soil, moistening that soil for its major part, but not completely.  A lot of precious water will run out of the container through the drainage hole(s) in the bottom and be lost for moistening of our plants. This means that a number of cavities will still be filled with air (leaving those small parts of the potting soil dry).

Now, imagine what will happen if we put the container (with holes in the bottom) in a recipient, e.g. a bowl.  Water running out of the drainage hole(s) is then collected in the bowl.  From there it will gradually be re-absorbed by the potting soil (and the rootball).  It re-enters our container and after a certain time it moistens the potting soil almost completely.  However, if we exaggerated when watering, too much water will be collected in the bowl and that water will stand there for a longer time, having a negative effect on the roots (e.g. by asphyxiation).

On the contrary, if we did not exaggerate when watering, only a smaller quantity of water will be collected in the bowl, and that quantity will rather quickly re-enter the container, completing the moistening of the potting soil and the rootball.

Considering this phenomenon, it came to my mind that drilling drainage holes in the sidewall should have the same effect as collecting a quantity of irrigation water in that bowl.  My experiments proved the positive effect.

2009-12-30-bottle-preparation-p1030170  2009-12-30-bottle-preparation-p1030171 

Photos WVC: 2009-12-30 BOTTLE PREPARATION P1030170.jpg and 2009-12-30 BOTTLE PREPARATION P1030171.jpg

In a first series of experiments I drilled 2 opposite holes (diameter 0,5 cm) in the sidewall of plastic bottles at 2,5 cm above the bottom.  I preferred to get 2 opposite holes, expecting that one of the holes could be clogged.  Somewhat exaggerating the watering, I noticed that a lot of water was running out of the 2 drainage holes.  Nevertheless, the quantity of water kept in the bottom of the bottle was readily moistening the potting soil above, having a positive effect on the growth of the plant in it.  None of the holes was clogged in a first period, but I expected that it could happen when the growing roots would reach the bottom of the bottle.

p1030643  2010-03-29-avocado-p1030768


Photos WVC: 2010-03-03 BOTTLE PREPARATION (P1030641-P103064 / 2010-03-29 AVOCADO P1030768.jpg and 2010-03-29 AVOCADO P1030765.jpg

Therefore, I have set up a second series of experiments with 2 opposite drainage holes, having a diameter of 1 cm (reducing the risk of clogging).

A third and fourth series of experiments were set up with 2 drainage holes (diameter 1 cm) in the sidewall but respectively at a height of 5,0 cm and 7,5 cm above the bottom.


Finally, I used bigger containers with bigger holes (3 cm) at different height.

My general conclusion of these experiments is that drainage holes in the sidewall of a container are better than the ones in the bottom, because:

(1) one is saving a lot of water (less loss);

(2) one is saving also a quantity of fertilizer (otherwise lost by leaching);

(3) one registers better plant growth.

It is obvious that there is a close relationship between the dimension of the container (and thus the volume of the potting soil) and the height of the drainage hole(s) above the bottom.  The higher the holes in the sidewall in small containers, the bigger the risk of asphyxiation and root rot.  One should also determine the optimal diameter of the drainage holes.

Today, I hope that researchers or students will set up scientific studies to determine the optimal method to improve plant growth in containers by taking into account the position and dimension of drainage holes in the sidewall.

Anyway, container gardeners using planters without any drainage holes are hereby recommended to drill those holes not in the bottom, but in the sidewall.