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Old 02-28-2016, 02:06 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,398 posts, read 40,882,869 times
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Here's why

Get the best container drainage | Garden Gate eNotes
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Old 02-28-2016, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
I have seen and heard this before. Seems there are 2 schools of thought on this.
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:22 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
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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.
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:48 PM
 
Location: McKinleyville, California
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When I lived inland where it was hot and dry, I used terra cotta shards to block the drain holes in the pots, here on the wet coast I use a piece of window screen. I have noticed that any plants my spouse pots up, he puts pea gravel in the bottoms, assuming it will help the plants drain, I keep reminding him that it causes the roots to rot, that it is best they have soil the full depth, that the roots will absorb any excess water and transpire it up the plant.
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Old 02-28-2016, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...
38,334 posts, read 44,122,797 times
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Actually adding rocks/pea gravel/shards to the bottom of the pot aids in air/oxygen circulation preventing water build-up and rotting roots.
I've been growing potted plants like this successfully for over 50 years. It was even taught to do this in our horticultural classes.
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Old 02-28-2016, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,398 posts, read 40,882,869 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wit-nit View Post
Actually adding rocks/pea gravel/shards to the bottom of the pot aids in air/oxygen circulation preventing water build-up and rotting roots.
I've been growing potted plants like this successfully for over 50 years. It was even taught to do this in our horticultural classes.
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.
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Old 02-28-2016, 10:26 PM
 
9,246 posts, read 4,579,847 times
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You should see some of the YouTube from Back to Eden garden, some of the old theories got turned upside down. Like turn over your yard, I thought one has to do this but apparently not. The more you turn over the more weeds get exposed. So deep munching is best.
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Old 02-28-2016, 11:38 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
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sometimes there's a reason to turn soil. i've tried to start gardens in areas where what passed for soil was so bad, i had to do something.

i haven't put gravel in a pot where roots were going to fill it in years. i have (as you have) filled the bottom of huge pots which i didn't need to fill with soil.
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Old 02-29-2016, 05:31 AM
 
Location: too far from the sea
17,400 posts, read 16,614,299 times
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If you don't turn the soil around here, how are you going to get all the rocks out?
I thought that WAS the main reason for turning the soil.

I will still continue to put a pot shard in the bottom of the pot so that the soil isn't too wet.
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Old 02-29-2016, 06:55 AM
 
Location: NC
6,063 posts, read 6,790,089 times
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As for gravel in the bottom of containers, I totally agree that the purpose is for aeration. So, as long as liquid water can drain out of the bottom of the pot, there will be no build up of moisture at the interface of the soil and gravel. What the gravel does, and it should be at least 1/2 inch size, is to increase the surface area of the soil layer that is in contact with air supply to the roots.

The most important thing, no matter gravel or not, is that the pot be lifted off the ground so that the drain hole(s) do not clog. For house plants in saucers, the drowning of roots is avoided by letting the pots free drain in the sink after deep watering, then the pots are returned to the saucers. Otherwise, three rocks or those cute little clay feet will lift the pot enought that air can enter via the drainage holes. The gravel is the equivalent of having lots of drain holes that let the air enter into the soil.

And BTW, I love Garden Gate, but this piece was not well considered.
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