How to stop water running through your hanging planters
I love hanging planters full of pretty summer flowers. Actually, I'll also do spring and fall hanging planters too!
My biggest frustration is when it's hot and the planters need to be watered often. The water runs right through and doesn't wet the soil.
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I figured out a simple and inexpensive solution last year. But couldn't share the tutorial because I didn't take pictures when I put the planter together and didn't know if it would work.
I worked perfectly last year! Better than I hoped.
Using a Dollar Store Bowl to keep water in your planters
It is important to drill some holes in the bottom. I just used a big drill bit to make three holes. If you don't have a drill bit, use a nail and hammer it in to create the hole. If the plastic is thin, you could even 'stab' the plastic bowl with a screwdriver to create the holes.
You do want the holes so that you (or Mother Nature) don't overwater. It allows the water to S L O W L Y leave the planter!
Dealing with Root-Bound plants
When you purchase plants (and even if you grow your own), plants are often root-bound. Basically, it just means that the roots start growing in a circle. You don't want that because you want the roots to spread so they can absorb nutrients and moisture.
My geranium was slightly root-bound.
I just roughed up the bottom and the sides. No need to be gentle when doing this!
I also wanted to show you a plant that was more seriously root-bound. Often plants come like this if they have been in their little plant cells a little longer than they should be. That can happen for a variety of reasons including a delay in gardening because of cold weather, or, the plants just grew a little quicker than planned.
This is my petunia and it is seriously root-bound.
I literally rip that bottom part of root-bound roots off. Then rough up the sides. The picture below is the bottom of the plant with the root-bound part ripped off.
When you are first learning to garden, this is often a step that feels hard. You worry that you are harming the roots and the plant. But, you do much more harm if you don't rough up the roots so they can extend. If you don't, the roots just keep growing in a circle and then the plant suffers.
Put good quality potting soil into your bowl/planter. I like using Miracle Grow Potting Soil. You can buy this anywhere that sells plants and soil. It's actually fairly light so you can also buy Miracle Grow Potting Soil online!
After I plant my hanging planters, I also give it a diluted dose of Miracle Grow fertilizer. Actually, I give everything I replant (if it's in a planter or in the ground) some Miracle Grow fertilizer. I water it down to about ⅓ of the strength recommended. The soil already has fertilizer in it so that's why I don't use full strength. I also water my planters, especially my hanging planters with this diluted fertilizer about every two weeks. It's way more than the directions say, but in a pot the nutrients get used up by the plant and there isn't much soil to hold nutrients. Just my way of fertilizing.
In this hanging planter, I put in a red geranium, a purple petunia (Wave petunia), alyssum and a purple lantana. I will try to remember to take a picture to add to this post once the hanging planter is grown in and the plants drape.
See how the bowl is tucked in with the coconut liner. You don't even see it when it's hanging. And you certainly won't see it when the plants fill in.
Looking for some planter and windowbox inspiration? Here are a few of my posts that people enjoy getting ideas from.
I love my black and white planters! They were ugly and now are so eye-catching. Here's a little picture -
Have fun planting!