Thursday, 27 December 2012

Helping hanging pots retain water in hot weather...

I love my hanging baskets. In the Brisbane winters (which are beautiful by the way - best time to visit) My baskets bask in the warm sunny weather and produce lots of wonderful flowers.



In the summer they curl up their toes and simply die. I put some water crystal things into the soil and had a reasonable rate of success with them but the Queensland Summer sun is simply too much most of the time for the plant and its game over too quickly.

I'm still game for one more round with Mother Nature this summer - Here's what I did...



 I pulled all the baskets down and pulled out any dead or almost dead plants.


Then I put them up on the edge of the veranda on top of some empty pots to stablise them- dug out the plants and soil...


And lined all the baskets with all those pesky plastic bags you get from the shops at this time of the year.


Then I put the soil back in with a dollop of compost and some worm wee - gave 'em a decent water...


And hung them back up.



It's not the most attractive hanging basket I've ever seen but I'm hoping that the ability to retain water in the basket will lead to lots of bushy leaves and then you wont be able to see the plastic. I like the coconut coir that the baskets are lined with but they simply don't retain any water and in the baking 35 degree heat - the dirt becomes as hard as rock and the plant just gives up the ghost.

I'm hoping that the water will pool at the bottom of the basket and be accessible to the plant. Before I did this, watering the basket made the dirt damp, then it drained out the bottom and simply evaporated into thin air. The plants were out of water by lunch time and I was at work unable to help them. Watering them twice a day was starting to get a bit silly - Of course its rained practically every day since I did this so I'm not sure if its the plastic or the fact that they are getting water and the sun is behind the clouds that is leading to the plants looking so much healthier today!

I'm not sure what I will do if this doesn't work. Both sets of hanging pots only get 1/2 a day of sun - but that's probably enough to bake them to a crisp most days. Maybe I'll have to move 'em to a spot that gets even less direct sun in the summer...

Score card:
Green-ness: 4/5 for finding a use for a plastic bag - 2/5 for having it in the house in the first place!
Frugal-ness: 5/5 for not spending a cent!
Time cost: Probably about 1/2 an hour to repot 6 baskets
Skill level: Digging and balancing!!
Fun-ness: If they manage to live - it will be great fun!

2 comments:

africanaussie said...

I have a love/hate relationship with hanging baskets. I love the coir but they do dry out so quickly. I will be interested to see how this works - I tried a thick plastic liner once with no drianage and the pot got so heavy it broke the branch and fell down!

Practical Frog said...

Oh - I didn't think of that at all!?!
They have been hung up by the husband so I suspect there is a 45 inch screw going through the front of the roof! But I will keep it in mind when I'm watering them. Thank for the warning. - K xx

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