Refresh Your Container Garden
Beautiful Potted Plants
Use those planters to their utmost
You can easily make your old planters look great. If you have old planters lying around, whether filled with dead plants or ones that are looking a little sorry, now is the time to fix them up.
It's very easy to refresh your planters, and when you're done you'll have some beautiful plants to enjoy. Don't let those planters go to waste, fix them up and use them.
Refresh Dead Plant Pots
Gather Your Repotting Supplies
To refresh your gardening containers that had plants that died, you don't need much, just a few things. Gather your supplies together and move it to an area where you don't mind soil possibly spilling.
Planters Needing Plants
Repotting Supply List
Supplies You May Need
Leftover pots from plants that didn't survive
Wheelbarrow or large container
Small rake or hoe
More potting soil
Hose or Plant Waterer
Scrub Brush or Wire Brush
Get a Garden Tool Set
Step 1 : Empty Planters into Large Container
Empty the soil from the old, used planters into the larger container or wheelbarrow. Toss aside any large rootballs or stems to be placed in the compost pile later.
Step 2 : Break Up the Soil
Using a small rake or hoe, break up the soil so it's back into fine particles. The soil in containers gets compressed over time and this makes it difficult for plants to grow new roots through it.
Mixing Potting Soil
Step 3 : Add Some Fresh Soil, Compost, and Fertilizer
The balance of nutrients in containers can become unbalanced over time, depending upon what your plants used up. Since different types of plants tend to use different nutrients, it's a good idea to check the soil from the planters and add what is missing.
Checking the soil for missing nutrients is the best thing to do, but I'm lazy, so I usually just add some fresh soil, compost, and fertilizer. This revitalizes it a bit and gives the new plants something to use to grow. I add about a 1/4 more fresh soil to the old stuff, a couple handfuls of compost, and then whatever amount of fertilizer the fertilizer package recommends.
Soil sometimes leaks from planters, so you may need to add a bit more soil to make up for the amount lost since the last time you planted something in the pot. It just depends on how much was lost over time.
Test Your Soil
Do not use dirt from around the garden in your containers, it is way too dense and heavy and will not allow your plant to flourish. Use potting soil, preferably one made for containers, so your plants have all the light, airy material they need to grow in.
Step 4 : Mix Soil Well
Make sure to mix the new soil, old soil, compost, and fertilizer together well. You don't want any clumps of old soil or fertilizer.
Step 5 : Check Container
Make sure to go over your planter well and ensure it's not starting to crack or have something wrong with it.
Planters don't last forever and the winter can be hard on them. Clay planters are especially vulnerable to the frost and thaw cycle and plastic planters get brittle over only a couple of seasons.
Create Beautiful Container Gardens
Step 6 : Clean the Pot
If your planter has crusted salts on the outside, use the scrub brush or a wire brush and some water to get the worse of it off. A little adds a bit of a natural look to the garden, but too much will prevent your planters from being as porous as they should be.
Step 7 : Line the Bottom of the Planter
Inside the bottom of the planter line it with newspaper to keep soil from leaking out the drainage holes. Only put a couple of layers since you want water to still be able to drain. Some people will use pieces of broken pots or other items to block the drainage holes a bit so the soil won't leak out, so if you're more comfortable with that, now is the time to do it.
Rootball in Place
Step 8 : Refill Container and Plant a Plant
Fill your planter partially with the soil mixture. Add a plant, making sure the top of the root ball remains at the same level as it was in the previous pot. In the picture on the right, see where soil ends and the stem begins? Don't put dirt higher than that.
Add more soil around the edges until the planter is filled. Pat the soil until it fits snugly, but don't pack it too tightly. Wet it down and make sure you get out all the bubbles of air by jiggling the wet planter a little. Add more soil if necessary.
Easy-peasy! Freshened planter and plant ready to grow.
When replanting plants it's important to plant them so that where the stem comes out of the ground is at the same level it was in the old pot. Soil up against the stem in the wrong places can cause plants to rot.
Grow Lots of Tomatoes
Refresh Living Plant Planters
Refreshing your planters that still have plants in them is pretty easy. Get together a few supplies and get it done.
Supplies You May Need
More potting soil
Small rake or hoe
Hose or plant waterer
Scrub brush or wire brush
Step 1 : Check the Plant
Before you get started, check to make sure your plant is happy in its container. Plants can outgrow their containers so make sure the plant isn't getting root bound. Root bound means the plant's roots are filling the planter so much that there is hardly any room for it to grow or breath.
First check to see if the plant is getting root bound by turning it sideways and looking at the bottom of the planter. If several roots are coming through the drainage holes, then it is probably root bound.
If there aren't a lot of roots coming out, tip the planter to the side and slide it out of the planter. If there are roots grown all over the outside of the root ball it will need to get replanted. So do that instead of refreshing the planter.
Step 2 : Clean the Pot
Use the scrub brush or wire brush along with some water to clean the excess salts off the outside of the planter.
Learn More about Container Gardening
Step 3 : Use Rake on Soil
Lift the edges of your plant up a little so you can reach underneath without tearing leaves. Use the small rake or hoe to stir up the soil in the top inch or two of the soil. Be careful to not go too deep or you'll scratch up the roots.
Step 4 : Add Fertilizer
After you have stirred up the soil, add a sprinkling of fertilizer to it. Preferably use a fertilizer that is continuous-release or time-release and designed for container plants. Container plants need different fertilizer because they have different needs. The time-release fertilizer breaks down over time so that the plants get a steady supply.
Don't add too much fertilizer or you will burn the plant. The amount of fertilizer to add varies depending on the brand, so make sure to follow the directions on the fertilizer itself.
Stir the fertilizer into the soil a little and you're done. The plant will have a bit more nutrition and water will again be able to enter the soil.
© 2013 Alisha Vargas