Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Soak Those Baskets!

20150113Houseplants in hanging baskets suffer more from underwatering than other houseplants. This is partly because they are more exposed to drafts, so lose a bit more moisture to transpiration, but mainly because of the design of the pots in which they grow. Most hanging baskets are equipped with a ridiculously small saucer that doesn’t hold much water. Now, since you don’t want water to overflow from the mini-saucer and drip onto your floor, you end up being less generous in your watering than you should be, pouring just a little water into the pot. So even after a “normal” watering, the plant still remains drought-stressed and unhappy.

To water a hanging plant correctly, change methods. Unhook the pot from the ceiling and plunge the pot into a bucket or sink full of tepid water (never use cold water!). Allow the pot to remain submerged for a minute or so, until no more air bubbles rise up from the submerged soil, a sign that the rootball is now thoroughly soaked. All you have to do now is lift pot out of the water, let it drain (you still don’t want water to drip onto your floor!) and hang it up again. After a few weeks of proper watering, your hanging houseplants will look better than they ever have!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

2 comments on “Soak Those Baskets!

  1. Pingback: How to Prevent Brown Leaf Tips | Laidback Gardener

  2. Pingback: English Ivy: April 2021 Houseplant of the Month – Laidback Gardener

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