How to keep your outdoor potted plants alive
Even the smallest of spaces can be transformed with outdoor potted plants. And with these simple rules, you can enjoy your potted plants for years to come
Adding some statement potted plants can take any outside space to the next level. Outdoor potted plants can also help you craft a garden oasis on your balcony, patio, and even your doorstep or windowsill. And with some careful planning and regular care, your green space can really thrive. Here are some key things to focus on:
- Check your plants with the finger dip test and make sure that each plant can drain well. If the soil is too solid or ‘loamy’ and you can’t get your finger in, a stick will work too.
- Feed your plants every two weeks or so in spring and summer. You’ll need to feed your plant more regularly if it’s flowering or fruiting.
- Try and give your potted plants some shade on hotter days
Where to put outdoor potted plants
No matter how small your space is, there's always room for some outdoor potted plants. But to help them really thrive, it's worth planning exactly where you want to put them.
To protect them from too much wind and rain, many outdoor plants need a sheltered area. A wall, fence or even your patio furniture or the corner of your balcony can protect your plant from the prevailing wind.
How to water outdoor potted plants
Because their containers can only hold so much soil, outdoor potted plants get pretty thirsty. Most of the time, checking your plants once or twice a week is ideal. But during a summer heatwave, you might need to water them twice a day.
Outdoor potted plants like their compost to be moist, but not soaking wet. Use the finger dip test to check this regularly. Dip your finger into the soil, going up to your knuckle. If the compost feels dry, it's time to water. Make sure that the container has some drainage holes.
Always give your potted plants plenty of water. Pour a generous glug all over the compost and let it soak all the way through.
Feeding and repotting outdoor potted plants
Most outdoor potted plants can grow quite happily without too much help. But if you’re growing fruits and vegetables or a beautiful display of flowers, giving them some food can help produce a bumper crop.
During the spring and summer, feed your plants a diluted liquid fertiliser once a month or so. Make sure the soil is moist before you pour in the food – adding fertiliser to dry soil can harm your plant.
Occasionally, you'll also need to refresh the compost or repot the plant fairly regularly. Every one or two years, it's worth repotting your plants into a bigger container and refreshing the compost. It’s best to do this in the spring.
Even if your plant still has some growing room, it’s a good idea to refresh some of the old compost every year. Replace the top two inches with some fresh compost. This gives your plant a fresh batch of nutrients.
How to keep outdoor potted plants alive in summer
While plants love the glorious summer weather, warm temperatures can also cause problems. Outdoor potted plants need a lot of water, and hot weather can be tough for them. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to help.
For most of the summer, checking your potted plants once or twice a week is perfectly fine. But if conditions are really hot, keep an eye on them once a day to stop them from getting parched.
When they do need a drink, give them two rounds of water. Putting a saucer or plate underneath the pot can help the plant absorb some excess water.
How to keep outdoor potted plants alive in winter
Winter can be a tough time for some outdoor potted plants, especially delicate ones that are used to warm, sunny conditions. But a few clever tricks can help your plants survive cold winds and frosts.
If the weather gets too cold, you might need to bring some of your potted plants inside to keep them warm, just make sure they’re in a sunny window. Citrus plants, like Orla our sweet orange tree or Vivi our lemon tree, won’t do well when the temperatures really drop.
If you don't have enough light and space indoors, you can wrap some large sheets of fleece or bubble wrap around your plant pots to keep them nice and cosy.
Plants use less water in the winter, so only check them once a week. If they have a saucer underneath their pot, remove it to avoid overwatering. It's also worth propping up the pot on some feet to avoid contact with any cold, soggy ground.
Outdoor plants like to hibernate during the winter. To help them sleep soundly, avoid fertilising them until the spring.
Potted plants will bring life to every outdoor space and because they’re portable, you can change your style whenever you like. With a little care and attention, your outdoor potted plants will give you long lasting colour and joy.
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