tbusidan
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Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 3:22 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Do "saucers" under planters prevent drainage?

Hello there, I'm a novice wannabe gardener, and I just started my first ever herb garden. I'm using a long rectangular planter that I got in Home Depot, attached to the railing of my outside deck. Recently it's been raining a lot in NYC, so the soil is wet. The planters do have drainage holes, but they also come with those saucers that attach to the bottom (which can be removed). Doesn't the saucer end up blocking those drainage holes and therefore preventing drainage? Should i remove them? When is it ok to use those "bottoms"? It seems like it would always prevent drainage...

Thanks for any help. This is my first post here, and I'm betting it won't be my last :D

Thanks,
Tomer

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rainbowgardener
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Yes, the saucer holds water that the pot and thus the soil sits in. Generally very bad, especially for herbs, which mostly are very drought tolerant and hate wet feet.

I use the saucers indoors to keep pots from leaking all over my carpets. Most people would empty the saucers then. But since I have a bunch of containers, many of them very big and heavy, I leave it, but I make up for it by only watering every 2 -4 weeks.

In the spring when I put all my containers out, I put them out with no saucers. But I just put all the saucers back under them, because we are heading in to a long stretch of mid 80's - mid 90's weather with no rain. In those conditions, you want to conserve all the water you can. I recently watered the containers so that all the saucers were full. 16 hrs later the saucers were empty again...
Last edited by rainbowgardener on Sat May 26, 2012 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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tbusidan
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Thanks so much, that info helps a lot!

cynthia_h
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If it's going to be a bother removing and then replacing the saucer, the excess water can be removed with a turkey baster so that the plants don't sit in extra water. I do this if the water hasn't been absorbed 12 or so hours after watering.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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Spotted
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Location: Michigan

Depending on the container that the plant is in and the saucer you can also put rocks under the container so that the water doesn't touch the roots and has drained free. I use this set up with my orchids so that the bark that the are in drains free. I also happen to have a dry apartment so my orchids need the extra humidity but other plants may not enjoy extra humidity.

cynthia_h
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Good point! I had totally forgotten about "gravel trays" and the like for indoor orchids. They need the humidity the water provides, but don't like their "feet" wet.

Thank you!

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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