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Post-Planting Container Care
Caring for Newly Planted Containers
Here you’ll find many helpful tips for starting newly planted containers of flowers on their way growing into beautiful flower displays, whether indoors in your home our outside in your yard or landscape.
Early care of container flowers includes regular waterings, mulching, protecting plants from frost, wind and sun, and installing stakes or other supports.
You’ll also find useful information about how to train plants and guide their early growth.
Because most containers are easy to move, this care is easier than for plants growing in garden or landscape soil.
Frosts, wind or sun? No worries. Just move your container flowers to a sheltered location until cold temperatures, heat spells, or windy days pass. Only flower plantings in large landscape containers that are fixtures in your landscape will require covers, shade, or wind protection [see: Early Care of Flowers].
Water your containers regularly, every day for the first week, every other day for the next, and then every time the soil surface dries. Always water in the morning so that foliage dries before sundown.
Apply water directly at the base of each plant. Water just enough to start drainage to flow from the drain holes of the container.
If desired, extend in-ground drip irrigation system water supply tubing and emitters to each of your containers to water them automatically [see: Watering Flowers and Bulbs].
One other thing that’s essential is to install supports to your containers of flowers right after you plant them.
Low, trailing, and sprawling plants may only need a crumpled wire-cloth form to help them stay free of contact with the pot’s soil. Install the form immediately after planting the container.
Allow the flowering or foliage plant’s shoots to grow through the form, or pull them through it. Winding the shoots around the form’s top as they grow longer until their weight holds them in place.
Follow up planting by immediately installing support stakes on all tall and narrow flowering plants immediately. Waiting only allows the plants time to grow into their planting areas, making access difficult.
A container garden that draws the eye upward, shields a dismal view, or adorns a blank wall provides color and texture in your home, patio, or garden.
When you plant upwardly mobile plants in containers, they may require a little help from you to support their tendrils, stalks, and vines.
The most basic vertical support is a plant stake or cane, a thin upright that gives rigid structure to sprawling and vining plants. Most young plants are very flexible and unable to support their own weight. Some have weak stalks at first that would break in high-wind conditions.
Strings or wires attached between multiple stakes encourage climbers such as jasmine and tendril growers such as sweet pea to latch on and leverage themselves up, then spread laterally down the strings or wires.
Climbers with heavy foliage may need even more stability in the form of a trellis, usually made from thin members of treated wood or metal tubing attached to stakes driven into the soil in your container.
Like most supports, trellises provide the basic framework for climbing plants to grow and spread. The design and dimension of your trellis, therefore, should suit the plant’s growth patterns as well as the ultimate shape and height that plant is expected to attain.
When installing trellises to container plants, set it to allow 3–4 inches (8–10 cm) of space between it and any nearby structure’s surface.
This air gap allows breezes to circulate behind it, keeping moisture from damaging walls or fences. It also helps avoid excessive drying of flowers and foliage when the sun’s heat reflects off the nearby structure.
You have two options for installing supports in containers:
- Support tall climbers with a trellis attached to the back face of your planter
- Set supports inside the container’s soil and—if possible—fasten them to the container’s rim to make the assembly more stable. Make sure the support has long enough “legs” to penetrate the full depth of the planter.
Add support stakes, trellises, and other aids as needed, positioning them outside the rootball, and tie the plants to their supports, using the methods demonstrated.
A container garden that draws the eye upward, screens an area of your home or yard from view, or adorns a blank wall is a welcome feature of your home or patio garden.
Support the tendrils, stalks, and vines of plants in containers by installing simple stakes, plant posts, trellises, or wire guides.
Gather your containers with newly planted flowering plants and the materials shown, then follow these simple steps:
How Install Trellis Plant Supports
This planter will receive an outside-mounted trellis and several climbing flower plants.
It requires the flowering plants, a trough planter, a ready-to-install wood trellis, potting soil, a trowel, and a roll of stretchy plant tape.
Fill the planter with potting soil medium matched to the soil requirements of the flowering plants.
Compact the soil slightly for planting, misting with water to dampen the mix as needed.
Fit the trellis’s legs into the soil at the back wall of the planter or outside the back wall, as desired.
Compact soil around the trellis legs to steady it.
Fasten the trellis’s legs to the planter wall with galvanized screws.
Deep planters may not require fasteners.
Working with each flowering plant, dig a hole, plant the plant, backfill around it with soil, and firm the soil [see: Planting Flowers into Containers].
After planting each plant, wind the plant’s vines or stems through a few of the bottom trellis openings.
Guide its supple shoots onto the trellis.
Repeat for each remaining plant.
Loosely tie the ends of the vines or limbs to the trellis structure to hold them in place.
As the plants develop new tendrils and grow, repeat this tying step every few days until the plants is established.
Thoroughly water the planting.
Your trellis planter will create a wall of flowers and foliage that will reach nearly to eye level when mature.
Installing Plant Stake Supports
Craft and install sphagnum-moss plant stakes to help support your leggy container foliage and flowering houseplants.
Large trailing or vining plants look best when supported on fibrous or sphagnum moss–filled stakes. Making your own stakes is easy. A simple wire-cloth cage provides the plant strong support. Filled with moss, the finished stakes blend beautifully into your plants’ foliage.
In nature, many tropical plants climb trees to heights of 40 ft. (12 m) or more.
Gather a planting container, wire cloth, a decorative basket, your plant, and the implements shown, and install sphagnum-moss filled support stakes for your plants. Follow these easy steps:
How to Install Plant Stakes
Use wire cutters, wire ties, and needle-nosed pliers to fashion a hollow, wire-cloth column, 2–3 in. (50–75 mm) in diameter.
Make three vertical cuts in the base of the hollow form, each 3 in. (75 mm) long. Fold out each wire flap to make support flanges.
Fill the center of the hollow wire form with dry sphagnum moss.
The moss will hold the moisture and slowly release humidity to keep the plant’s foliage healthy and green.
Moisture will also prompt the plant to develop roots at its leaf junctions, gripping the form.
Protect the pot’s drain hole with wire mesh. Mount the stake in the container, covering the hardware cloth flange with pea gravel to create a stable base.
Fill the container with soil and plant your flower or foliage plant in the container [see: Planting Flowers into Containers].
Water thoroughly, and allow the container to drain.
As the plant grows, train it up the stake using stretchy plant tape as ties.
Sphagnum moss contains spores that may cause eye, skin, or throat and lung reactions in some sensitive individuals. Wear a protective mask as a safety precaution when handling this natural moss material.