How to Help Your Potted Plants Thrive in the City

gardening on balcony

Think gardening in the city is beyond your grasp? It’s not, especially if you embrace the idea of using pots. The following tips can help your growing beauties thrive, so your patio garden remains lush. 

Make Drainage a Priority

If you look at most outdoor pots, they are missing one key detail – drainage. The vast majority have no holes. This means water can’t escape. Rather, it accumulates at the bottom of your pot, oversaturating the soil and drowning your plants.

The bad news is, it’s not always easy to add holes to pots. Some ceramic and plastic designs will crack and break if you drill through them. However, that’s not always the case.

In general, we like to only buy pots that already have holes. If you find a pot you love that doesn’t have holes, carefully consider how easily you can add them.

Carefully Consider the Light

Plants need light. But different plants need different amounts of light. Placing a full sun plant in a partially sunny location is just setting yourself – and your plant – up for failure.

Make sure to carefully consider how much light your patio gets. In many instances, different sections of your patio will get different amounts of light. You’ll want to take note of this too.

How do you determine how much light your patio gets? Measure it by hours. That’s the metric most growing instructions use.

Read and Save Each Plant Tag

For millenniums, gardeners have been studying the ideal growing environment for each plant’s optimal health. Plant tags offer a goldmine of this accumulated wisdom. Don’t ignore them.

Plant tags will tell you how much sun a plant needs. They will tell you how much water it needs. And, they will sometimes let you know the ideal food for a specific plant (more on this in a second).

In many instances tags will also tell you how the plant will grow, specifically the shape, width, and height it will take. Make sure the pot you’re using is large enough to handle your plant.

Read plant tags. Listen to them. And, save them.

The easiest way to save tags, is to nestle them in the pot where the plant is planted. This way if you ever forget how to care for your plants or if you need someone to help you for a bit, there will never be any question of the proper way to do so.

Feed Your Plants

Like all living things, your plants need food to thrive. The problem with potted plants is that they don’t have access to the nutrients they need all on their own. You need to actually feed them.

In the outside world (beyond pots), plants gain nutrients from the soil that’s enriched through decomposition. When you put plants in pots, their environment stays relatively static. By mixing fertilizer into your pots, you can help your plants thrive.

Plant Like-Minded Friends Together

Not all plants are meant to grow together. The biggest concern is making sure plants sharing the same pot have the same needs for water and sunlight.

Beyond that, you want to make sure any plants you put in the same pot play well with others. Some plants, like oregano and mint, spread like a weed. They can quickly overtake the entire pot and kill the other plants.

Get more tips on maximizing your small patio.