Caring properly for your outdoor planters will have many benefits, the most important of which is healthier plants and flowers. When you ensure the planter is not harboring any pests or diseases, it maintains adequate drainage and remains structurally sound you will enjoy much longer use of it.
Materials used in the production of outdoor planters have changed dramatically in recent years. Fiberglass and resin are being used extensively to re-create the look and even the feel of many natural materials such as terracotta, stone, concrete and wood. These planters are often far easier to maintain and are not subject to as much damage from environmental conditions such as extremes of heat, cold or moisture as terracotta, ceramic or some wood planters.
Keep these simple maintenance tips in mind when you check your planters at both the beginning and end of the growing season.
Tips for keeping your outdoor garden planters in their best condition:
- Sterilize all garden planters before you use them. This is particularly important with porous wooden and terracotta planters.
- Give yourself room to get between pots to clean. Make sure you can sweep and even mop around your plants. Inevitably, water will run off and leaves will fall.
- Treat metal and wooden planters with non-toxic stain, paint or waterproofing agent.
- Line insides of wooden planters that are susceptible to rot with black plastic (with holes in bottom for drainage).
- Reinforce joints of wooden planters with extra rust-proof nails.
- Keep bottoms of garden planters raised off of the ground for better drainage and to prevent water damage to planters and plant roots.
- Keep an eye on perennials with expanding roots. If you see root growth out the drainage holes it's time to re-pot into a larger planter.
- Repot as needed to prevent plants from splitting their containers.
- Bring garden planters inside or insulate them in winter to prevent freezing and thawing.
- Don't put pots where kids, pets, or other natural disasters might strike them.
- Clean out garden planters with bleach and soapy water after you use them.
- Store all unused garden planters in a dry, protected place until you need them.
- Make sure to bring in any planters such as ceramic, clay and terracotta planters, that can be damaged by weather.
- Keep permanent outdoor garden planters well mulched and on supports to ensure drainage in wet weather.