My Potted collection

mulleniumApril 26, 2011

I relocated my potted plants to the east corner of my house.. giving them a break from the afternoon sun.. figured since they are potted the afternoon sun here in phoenix will soon be killer on the soil since they are all above ground, moving them to the east side still gives them 4-5hrs sunlight.

In these photos I have 3 mangos (timotayo in the tan 22 inch toward the left side, pickering and gold nugget in the larger 24 inch planters (on rollers), jaboticaba in the center of the 22 inch pots, and mickeys freebie barbados cherry on the far end of the 22 inchers)

and cant forget the gold nugget loquat and guava (who is back there hiding) hanging out with their new neighbors. =)

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What potting mix and container size are you using? I would recommend placing water dishes under the containers. Also placing extra water dishes around the containers, seems to help keep the humidity up around the plant.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 3:06PM
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i use a mix of peat, perlite, sand, composted granite (almost like a grittier sand), compost/garden soil, and volcanic pumice, and a cup of gypsum for each plant.

and the container sizes are 24 inch and 22 inch.. the 22 inch is double walled to protect from heat and cold i take it.. the 24 inch are not double walled but are glazed resin on the exterior which says helps block UV rays.

you think being potted they need increased humidity? my in ground mangos dont seem to mind the lack of humidity here in the desert

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 3:24PM
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Would like to add, some of my experiences with arid and hot conditions and growing in containers.

White containers seem to make a difference.

Growing in self watering containers works out well (due to the water storage capacity).

Water dishes help keep the soil cooler and provide a water reserve for thirsty plants.

If you have a fast draining soil mix, I would recommend using it in a self watering container.

Give generous amounts of mulch for each container. Pine bark mulch seems to work the best for me.

Mulching with fresh compost also works out very well. Just ensure that proper drainage is maintained over time.

In the heat of the summer, when temps were over 90s and humidity was as low as 9-10%. I would have to water a average container size of 10 gal, on average 2 times a day to ensure moist soil. With a decent sized water dish, I was able to reduce this to once a day.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 3:35PM
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the only mulch i can find is cedar, i know cedar is bad but would that be okay as a top dressing for each potted plant? i used it as top dressing for all of my in ground plants already and have 1 bag leftover i can use.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 3:41PM
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The extra humidity makes a big difference. I have visually noticed this effect at the local park where I live. The trees growing at the park, I have observed this first hand. I believe they are banyan trees, or a similar looking tree that sends out air roots.

The sprinkler system in the park naturally causes small puddles of water to accumulate around the base of the tree. The areas where the sun meets the ground, right after the shade of the canopy the water starts to evaporate.

Visually, I can see air roots dropping down directly above this area. The canopy is also denser and healthier looking, above where this water evaporates.

I have noticed similar effects in my container garden (on a smaller scale) After noticing this, I may work on setting up larger water holding containers between the container garden.

Of course all of this water will be lost to evaporation. So it would be most beneficial to position them, so the vapor climbs up through the canopy. The increased water usage is not much, because when I use the water spraying hose extra water runs off the sides of the containers and drops down int the water dishes.

I try to position the water dishes in mostly shaded areas between the containers. Another advantage of this, is it attracts beneficial birds.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 3:47PM
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you know what!

I have one of those 5-6 foot blue kiddie pools.. that might be a great container to use for water.. maybe encircle the kiddie pool with my potted plants having the pool in the center filled with water.. or would it be better to plant the pots inside the kiddie pool?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 3:51PM
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I would avoid using cedar. You would be better off using white thick plastic trash bags, around the base of the tree. Or mulching with good compost. Is this your first summer with these container trees?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 3:52PM
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yeah my first summer =\

i kind of regret using cedar for the inground trees but since ive already used so much of it.. kinda hard to throw it all away and start over.. thats money wasted

this leftover bag i can still return since its unopened.. but wouldnt adding a layer of compost cause the tree to be sitting too low in the pot.. wouldnt that negate the top roots from getting oxygen?

you know how they say dont plant too low inground.. it seems adding more compost as a top dressing in a potted plant would be doing just that

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 4:05PM
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I would place the containers slightly spread out in the kiddie pool and around it. However, I would suggest you elevate all the containers going in by about 1 inch (use a square backyard tile for each container). I would also recommend cleaning out the kiddie pool once every 3 months, to clean out fertilizer and salt buildup.

I then would fill up the pool, and try to maintain a water level slightly above the range where the bottom of the container meets the water line (so about 1.5 inches).

Try to fill up the whole kiddie pool. Then work on putting the plants around the kiddie pool as well.

I believe doing this will greatly improve efficiency of watering, and create a thriving micro-climate for your plants.

I would also adjust the water levels according to season. For instance winter time, I would make sure the bottom of the containers are fully exposed to the air. To improve drainage and insure no sitting water.

This issue should be no problem for you though in the warmer months. The evaporation and increased water usage should take the water line below where it meets the bottom of the containers every day (if the water container is not overfilled). This will insure proper drainage each day, and allows the bottom area of roots some time to breathe each day.

I have not directly did this kiddie pool method. However, thinking it out in my head it may be a very effective method that would work. You would have to experiment and post your results.

I would be greatly interested, and may do this exact idea soon myself.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 4:08PM
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It all depends on the compost being used and the type of plant. My bananas respond very nicely to this kind of mulching. Pomegranate trees probably not as much. I use this compost mulch only on my most thirsty and tropical plants. The ones that tend to like lots of organic material and thrive in wet conditions.

I personally do this with homemade compost made of mostly leaves, grass, kitchen green waste, and egg shells. I don't smother the trees either (add about a 1/3-1/2 inch of compost), and tend to even mix perlite into the compost.

For your mangoes, I would not do just the compost as mulch. I would mix perlite into it before you apply it most likely.

I would actually had excellent results with used coffee ground mulch on my dwarf Holiday Avocado.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 4:14PM
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im thinking now that maybe i should have added a layer of gravel at the bottom of each pot.. if they are going to be sitting in an inch of water would that seem more ideal to have the gravel sitting in the standing water versus the soil itself? i guess not since having the soil at the bottom of each container sitting in the water will wick the water up throught the container.. i do this method for my indoor carnivorous plants, they each sit in a tupperware container with constant standing water to create a bog like atmosphere

yeah this is a great idea null! the kiddie pool might work out.. im thinking cinder blocks to raise up the containers as that is all i have available in my yard lol...

also, do you think the side of the house is ideal? or can i even place this out in full sun? with the side of the house they might not get enough direct sun?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 4:17PM
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on my pickering, the top feeder roots are above soil level and dip down into the soil.. but the gold nugget you cannot see any roots.

would having these roots exposed on the pickering hurt it? with the sunlight hittimg them all the time?

yeah i have lots of used coffee grounds ive been collecting? so can i just put these directly on top by itself?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 4:19PM
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I only have to water my plants about every 5-7 days during the heat of summer and we get similar dry/hot weather. While it does not look as nice, I lean boards (sometimes cardboard) against my pots, if they are painted white that is even better. The boards absorb all of the sun's heat and does not transfer it to the pots or roots. White pots still heat up if the sun is directly on them, double walled is a little better but dark resin probably wont be good? If you notice your new growth wilting then recovering when the sun goes down or if you are watering constantly consider completely blocking the sun from the pots either by moving the pots to the shade of the N. side of you house (leaving foliage in the sun) leaning a board against it, wrapping it with double layer of cardboard or even burying the pot in the ground? Basically just get the pot out of direct sun.

For humidity you can set up micro sprinklers to wet the ground around the plants in early morning and after sunset. If you go the kiddy pool root, make sure to place the pots on something so they are not sitting in a pool of water (except maybe the jabo?) Most plants like moist roots but few like wet. Or to increase humidity, buy more plants.

Definitely mulch.

Just my opinion,

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 4:19PM
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I used coffee grounds directly on top. They worked out great on my avocado and banana plants. As for gravel on the bottom of the containers, I would not bother. I would just use a nice soil mix with a good amount of perlite in it.

Here is a simple drawing of what I was trying to explain.
From Apr 26, 2011

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 5:34PM
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It's so annoying that they(EarthGrow) don't label their mulch except the Cedar but I guess that means the remaining "varieties" are from Pine and are fine to use? I'm using "Bark Nuggets".


    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 6:14PM
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Yes the earth grow bark nuggets are usually pine. I actually use that as my main mulch. It performs great in the container garden.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 6:17PM
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