The Basics of Container Plant Care

Container plantsBefore you start an apartment garden, you need to know the basics of plant care and container gardening. Here are 5 simple things to know about plant care.

1. Know your plants. Container plant care is easy as long as you know what your container plants need. When you purchase a potted plant, you will need to know how large it will grow (how big of a container it will need), how much sun it needs, what its water requirements are, if it will survive in your garden outdoors in the winter, etc. Know how to prune your container plants. Pruning is an important part of plant care because it keeps the plant healthy. Read up on the container plants you want to keep. Start by checking out’s Fact Sheets. Browse through more than 100 container plants and learn everything you need to know to get started growing that container plant successfully.

2. Buy potting soil. You may be tempted to put any old dirt in your plant pots, but for best plant care, buy a good potting soil mix from your local garden shop. Potting mix is formulated for best plant care. It will have slow-release fertilizer mixed in, as well as elements that will help the soil retain moisture. Do your plants a favor and give them potting soil, then fertilizing them regularly to replenish the fertilizer that has been used up from the potting soil.

3. Buy good plant pots. For the best plant care, get proper plant pots that are large enough and have good drainage. Most apartment gardeners buy attractive plastic plant pots, which allow for moisture retention in the soil but also good drainage. Make sure to place a dish below each of your plant pots. These will prevent water damage to your balcony or patio floor. Read “How to choose a Plant Pot” for more information on how you can make the decision for your unique apartment garden.

4. Water your plants correctly. The most common mistake when it comes to container garden maintenance is over- or underwatering the plants. Plant containers dry out quickly, especially on hot, sunny and windy days, so check on the plants daily. To learn more about correct watering, read’s article “Tips for Watering Plants.”

5. Know common pests. Now that you’ve bought the right potted plants and know basic plant care, make sure you know the common pests that can attack your plants. You will encounter plant pests sometime, so knowing the pests and how to deal with them will help you eradicate them more quickly. Common garden pests include garden snails and slugs, aphids, hornworms, whitefly, etc.

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