Even though I have drip irrigation to my pots, I still need to pay attention to soil moisture. I try to make regular checks to see how well the emitter lines are working and if my pots are draining properly, but sometimes a pot or two gets by me.
I noticed about a month ago that a Supertunia was looking sparse and its leaves were browning. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to investigate until the petunia was past the point of revival. So, I got some new plants and ripped out the sad petunia.
Upon ripping out the petunia, I found there was a nasty stagnant potting soil lake in the bottom half of the pot. I guess I should have figured– it is almost always a water issue responsible for a plant’s decline. In this case the petunia’s roots were drowning– roots need air as well as water.
I proceeded by tilting the pot to feel the drainage hole, and discovered I effectively plugged it with a pottery shard. What was meant to aid in drainage had ultimately stopped it. From now on I will only use window screening over the drainage hole, as that has proved to be the least problematic.
To unclog the hole, I turned the pot on its side and smashed the shard with a metal hose nozzle that fit nicely through the drainage hole. I then tipped the pot back upright but tilted and let the stinky water drain.
I left the irrigation out for a couple of days to let the potting soil dry to the point of being moist but not sopping wet. With the soil just right, I finally planted some beautiful annuals.
by Cara Mia Bohardt, Desert Gardener
What do you use for drainage on your pots?