SBrochard
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Total Beginner Question about Potted Plants

Hello! I am very new to gardening having just moved into my first home (not apartment). I wanted to put some potted plants on my stoop and so bought a variety of plants which can live in the shade, some potting soil and ceramic pots and made a go of it. I thought I did a nice job until someone asked "did you put a layer of rocks at the bottom of your pots?" Uh oh! I didn't and each pot does have a drain hole. Should I re-pot them with a layer of rocks at the bottom (under the soil)? Apparently this keep the roots from rotting?

Thanks!
Simone

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Kisal
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A layer of rocks in the bottom is an old, outdated technique. I never use them anymore. I think the only time I might use that would be if I were growing a plant in a container without drainage holes. I don't recommend doing that, however, unless you're an experienced container gardener who has learned how to judge very accurately the exact amount of water a plant needs.

I sometimes put a piece of non-metal screening, such as is used for windows and doors, in the bottom of a pot, to keep from losing soil out the drainage holes. Just cut it to fit the container. If you're using a proper potting mix that drains well, then you don't need anything in the pot except the mix. Your plants will appreciate having that much more root room. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

SBrochard
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Great! Very encouraging. I will be buying more plants tomorrow so this is very helpful!

Simone

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Kisal
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You're quite welcome! I'm glad you found our forum, and I hope to see more posts from you. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

sweet thunder
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Kisal wrote: I sometimes put a piece of non-metal screening, such as is used for windows and doors, in the bottom of a pot, to keep from losing soil out the drainage holes. Just cut it to fit the container.
I tend to go even lower-tech than that. I just use a piece of newspaper.

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Kisal
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:lol: I don't take the newspaper anymore, just read a bunch of them online. But it seems my pets often damage my screens, especially the dogs, jumping against the screen doors. I have to replace the screen fabric every few years, and I just save the old stuff and use it in my containers. :)

We're both doing the same thing, recycling instead of just tossing stuff in the garbage, so I say it's all good. People should use whatever they have that serves the purpose. ;)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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ButterflyGarden
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sweet thunder wrote:
Kisal wrote: I sometimes put a piece of non-metal screening, such as is used for windows and doors, in the bottom of a pot, to keep from losing soil out the drainage holes. Just cut it to fit the container.
I tend to go even lower-tech than that. I just use a piece of newspaper.
Doesn't the newspaper rot?
thestoryofababy.blogspot.com

sweet thunder
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Kisal wrote:
We're both doing the same thing, recycling instead of just tossing stuff in the garbage, so I say it's all good. People should use whatever they have that serves the purpose. ;)
:oops: I wasn't trying to say your idea is too fancy or anything, I think it's great! In my case it would mean buying the screening, because I don't have any laying around. I do, however, pick up the free weekly paper. As you said, we're both recycling!

As for the newspaper rotting, it does eventually, but it seems to stick around long enough to hold the soil in place until the roots can take over the job.

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Kisal
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Oh, my, sweet thunder! I didn't take your meaning like that at all! I was just saying that recycling anything is good, and that's what you and I both were doing. [img]https://i252.photobucket.com/albums/hh27/Kisal_photos/icon14.gif[/img]

There are many things that would work for the purpose. The only requirement is that the material not interfere with the rapid draining of the soil.

For that matter, some of my containers have several small drainage holes, instead of just a few large ones. In those containers, I don't bother putting anything in the bottom. I just fill 'em with potting mix. :D
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

nasirahc83
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Thanks for the advice. I am a newbie as well
Hi There!

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smaxey843
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really good information! congratulations to the OP on his home purchase. i'll be putting the information contained to use as well :D
I'm new to gardening. I'm very appreciative of any responses. thank you in advance.

Sunset Zone 31
USDA Hardiness zone 8, right in the border between 8a and 8b

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