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Old 02-29-2016, 07:54 AM
 
211 posts, read 223,273 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
New thoughts and teachings about horticulture happen all the time. Years ago people were tasught to amend soil when planting trees and shrubs but when I got my degree in Horticulture in 1976 I was tsught NOT to amend sil for trees and shrubs but definitely for flower beds. Again I think it depends on the size of the pot and what you are growing in it. Just like growth above the surface of the soil is genetically determined, root growth below the surface of the soil is too . Roots don't go on and on till they reach the bottom of the container.

Everybody has their favorite and proven way of doing things.
Yes, it's always changing. I was surprised recently to hear people liked to garden in the rain, and work with wet soil. I was always taught not to do that.
I stopped putting gravel or anything else in the bottom of my containers, found I didn't really need them, even to keep soil in. Since there's a risk of the perched water table rising, I just quit adding it, even though I use a well draining potting mix.
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Old 02-29-2016, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Aiken, South Carolina, US of A
1,751 posts, read 3,573,620 times
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The whole reason you don't put rocks in the bottom of a container is for the
soil uniformity, particle uniformity, which means all the particles in the potting soil should be the same size.
This maximizes the drainage, and raises the perched water table in the pot.
If I have annuals, I do whatever I want, because they will do fine, most of them, even if you put
rocks in the bottom of the pot.
But for my perennials, I need excellent drainage, all year round, so I use the best uniform potting
soil I can afford.
I say do what you want to do, but you won't find rocks in the bottom of a good nursery perennial.
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Old 02-29-2016, 12:58 PM
 
Location: The Carolinas
1,983 posts, read 1,880,236 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterfly4u View Post
But for my perennials, I need excellent drainage, all year round, so I use the best uniform potting
soil I can afford.
I say do what you want to do, but you won't find rocks in the bottom of a good nursery perennial.

I just assumed they didn't put gravel in the bottom of their pots is because of both cost, and knowing that customers will be taking them home and repotting them anyway. . .
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Old 02-29-2016, 01:06 PM
 
Location: NC
6,068 posts, read 6,883,777 times
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Butterfly, I would think that the water table only 'perches' due to either blockage of drainage or capillarity. So what is a perched water table in this case?

Also, I kind of agree with Adams_aj.
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Old 03-02-2016, 07:24 PM
 
Location: detroit mi
667 posts, read 413,977 times
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My line of thought is if all the dirt above the rocks Has poor drainage then the rocks arent going to help in the bottom of the pot. Just use a dirt that has good drainage and you won't need anything other than the dirt in the pot for it to drain well. I have been growing indoors for a while and it took a few differant times to get the dirt right. Rocks are not needed.
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Old 03-03-2016, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Aiken, South Carolina, US of A
1,751 posts, read 3,573,620 times
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luv4horses,
All pots perch. It just depends on the level of the perch.
The only way to totally eliminate a water level perch in a container plant is to either
wick it, by inserting a cotton thread through the pot hanging out the bottom of the pot, or
by using the pot in a pot method, thereby drawing the water out of the container that the plant
is in down into the pot holding the plant container. You must have the exact same medium in the
bottom pot that is holding the plant container also, the potting soil must be all uniform.
When the potting soil, or medium, is uniform in size, without using the pot in pot method,
there is still a perched water table in the container. There will always be. The water
eventually will drain out of the container,but the perched table exists.
Another useful method of improving drainage is digging a hole in soil in your garden in the ground,
that is very well draining. If you plant the container in the ground, this also helps lowering the
perched water level in the container.
I wouldn't plant a container in the ground if you have heavy clay, and the plant in the container needs
excellent drainage, like a plumeria, because the clay will hold too much water over time and the plant
will rot.
I have seen a big increase in the pot in pot method both at nurseries and private homes.
I buy an excellent potting mix, all uniform in size of mix particles, and my plants grow very
good. Many people make their own potting mix, which they have found works for them.
Uniform size of all particles in the potting mix lowers the perched water table.
There is always a perched water table though, in a container.
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Old 03-03-2016, 08:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
My question is, are there any plants that love wet soil?
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Old 03-04-2016, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
68,680 posts, read 78,692,932 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
I'm sure it depends on the size of the pot. SIZE MATTERS!

I sometimes put gravel in the bottom of HUGE porch pots to give stability cause we can get some real wind around here. Then I fill about half way up with crushed nursery pots, then landscape cloth or coffee filters to keep the soil from washing away, then soil and then the plants. At no time are the roots ever in standing water or really wet soil,. But these are really big pot which I sometimes plant as many as 6-8 plants in.

Smaller pots I put a chard of clay pot in the bottom so there is some drainage or maybe just landscape cloth. I also recycle worn out coconut liners or sphagnum moss on the bottom so water can run through but no soil is lost. I'm planning my pots already and getting materials ready. And started some seeds inside this weekend.
After my seed disaster this year and last, I have pretty much decided just to wait til I can plant outdoors which will be about another 5 weeks or so.

As for gravel, I think I am going to forego it in the containers this year. I have done it both ways in the past.
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Old 03-04-2016, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Denver/Boulder Zone 5b
1,340 posts, read 3,122,261 times
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I only use rocks to weigh down some 3' tall planters we have on the front porch and annuals are the only things ever planted in them, so I am not overly concerned with them becoming waterlogged or root bound.

I agree with mo8414 regarding drainage - a good potting mix that is adequately moist will drain beautifully and does not need rocks to facilitate any kind of drainage. More important are enough (and large enough) holes in the bottom of the container for water to drain effectively. A container filled with saturated potting mix will drain from the bottom almost immediately, with or without rocks, so unless you need them for stability, all you're doing is sacrificing additional space for root development.
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Old 03-05-2016, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Amongst the AZ Cactus
7,074 posts, read 4,505,073 times
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Given the variations in preferences here and the highly variable views of the "experts", and my own experience putting gravel in the bottom and not, I've noticed no difference to the bottom line(no pun intended!).....and that's having healthy looking plants. Perhaps certain plants are more sensitive but I certainly haven't noticed it with the wide variety of herbs and flowers we've grown in various size containers over the years.
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