The Huddersfield Gardener

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Container Plant Maintenance

Posted on 1 February, 2016 at 6:14

Watering containers is essential because container compost can dry out quickly.  During spells of hot weather containers need to be watered at least daily.  We should water the container plants using a can and rose.  A rose ensures that the water that is poured onto the container compost is distributed evenly and lightly.

The container should be at least inspected daily.  If weather is hot the container should be inspected twice daily.  When we can see that water is required we should fill the container up to the rim and let it drain out.  Once this water drains away we should fill the container up to the rim once more. 

When we water our aim is to keep the compost moist.  We should avoid making compost soggy as this is bad for plants. 



5 weeks after planting feeding can begin.  It is beneficial to apply a liquid feed every 2 weeks from planting until the end of August. 


Dead-head plants to give them a tidy appearance and to encourage the production of a second flush of flowers. 



If any do appear they can be removed manually. 



Weak, unwanted and diseased foliage should be cut away.  This leads us appropriately on to the subject of pests and diseases. 


Pests and Diseases

            We must inspect the container regularly to ensure no pests and/or diseases have struck plants within our container.  If pests and/or diseases do strike appropriate steps should be taken. 


Slugs and Snails

Slugs and snails may target plants within the container.  They eat leaves and stems.  We should keep the area around the container clean and tidy because slugs and snails hide in garden waste during the day.  Slugs and snails can be removed by hand from containers and the underside of containers.  They are often active after it rains or in the evening.  A length of copper tape may be stuck around the container to keep slugs and snails at bay.  Slug pellets and other poisons actually attract pests so use of these should be avoided.


Aphids may attack our container plants.  They feed on the sap of plants.  Plants are then covered by honeydew which in time becomes covered with sooty mould.  Aphids breed rapidly and they seriously harm plants so they need to be controlled.  We can simply dislodge aphids with a powerful jet of water from a hose. 


Vine Weevil

Vine weevils may interfere with our container plants.  The adults appear in summer and eat into the edges of leaves.  Vine weevil grubs cause far more damage.  The grubs feed on plant roots.  Parasitic nematodes can be used to control these grubs. 


Leaf Spot

Yellow, brown or black spots on leaves are often caused by fungi.  Leaf spot is more likely to occur when conditions are damp.  If we suspect that fungi have attacked our container plants we should cut off diseased leaves.  In addition we should apply an appropriate fungicide.  We can then apply a liquid feed to aid recovery. 


Grey Mould

Grey mould, as the name suggests, is a fluffy grey mould that often appears on closely planted container plants.  This fungal disease thrives in wet conditions.  Diseased material should be disposed of.  We can apply a fungicide to control this disease. 



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