Caring for Your Garden Containers

All containers need thorough washing every so often to make sure they are clean and pest-free—but wood, metal and stone pots may benefit from a little additional care to keep them looking their best.

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Preparing Clay Pots

If terra-cotta pots have been put in storage over winter, before you use them again give them a good scrub in warm water and detergent to get them scrupulously clean, and then hose them down. This helps eliminate the likelihood of pests or diseases affecting new plants. Also, clean the pots at the end of the season before you put them away. Before planting your pots, soak them in a bucket of water. This saturates the porous clay, which then draws less water out of the potting mix. Ornamental pots can be left out all year if they are frost-proof, but note that there is a difference between being frost-proof and frost-resistant: after a couple of winters outside, frost-resistant containers may start flaking and deteriorating. If in doubt, check with the manufacturer.

Soak Terra Cotta Pots Before PlantingEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Keeping Synthetics Clean

Like terra-cotta pots, synthetic containers should be cleaned and scrubbed in warm water and detergent before they are stored, and again when they are brought out for use. Stubborn stain scan be removed with a kitchen scourer, but test a small, discreet area first to ensure that this will not scratch the pot. Choose a dark-colored container that won’t show the dirt for permanent plantings that will sit outside all year.

Clean Synthetic PotsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited
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Excerpted from Simple Steps: Containers for Patios

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2007

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