Science has confirmed that including stones to the underside of your flower pots can really hurt the vegetation. So why are we nonetheless doing it?
stones in backside of flower pot
Identical to me, you’ve in all probability heard to your total life – not less than your gardening life – that it’s best to add small stones, gravel, items of damaged ceramic pots, or different filler to the underside of your containers earlier than planting. The reasoning is that it offers higher drainage to your vegetation because it helps the water drain quicker by way of the pot.

It sounds cheap, proper? However it seems that stones within the backside of the pot really gradual drainage and may hurt your vegetation. Scientists have confirmed it.

Truly, they busted this gardening fable greater than 100 years in the past and plenty of instances since then. However in some way, this necessary reality hasn’t entered the collective conscience of dwelling gardeners – we’re nonetheless throwing all types of issues into the underside of our flower pots. I used to be responsible of this too till I stumbled throughout the analysis on the Backyard Professors web page on Fb.

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Research present that in a pot, water doesn’t rapidly cross from soil to stone
Scientists have demonstrated that water doesn’t simply transfer between a fantastic textured materials like soil and a coarser materials like stones. Extra particularly, water may be very gradual to cross the realm between the 2 supplies. So the coarse supplies on the backside of the container gradual water drainage, making the soil extra prone to change into waterlogged and doubtlessly drown your plant’s roots.

“The very fact is, when water shifting by way of a soil reaches a horizontal or vertical interface between completely different soil varieties, it stops shifting.”

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, Ph.D., Washington State College Extension City Horticulturist in The Backyard Professors Weblog
Why this occurs: gravity
Moderately than water freely shifting down by way of the the soil and throughout the stones, water resists crossing the barrier between them. That’s as a result of the water within the higher layer is being pulled upwards by the dry soil and the vegetation. This offsets the consequences of gravity, which might in any other case pull the water by way of the stones. The water builds up within the high layer till it’s oversaturated, and solely then is water within the soil launched into the layer beneath. The oversaturation of the soil poses a risk to your plant’s roots and could also be why your container-grown petunias didn’t survive the season once in a while.

“It’s a fable {that a} layer of gravel (inside the underside of a person pot) beneath the soil improves container drainage. As a substitute of additional water draining instantly into the gravel, the water “perches” or gathers within the soil simply above the gravel. The water gathers till no air house is left. As soon as all of the accessible soil air house fills up, then extra water drains into the gravel beneath. So gravel within the backside does little to maintain soil above it from being saturated by overwatering.”

Profitable Container Gardens, College of Illinois Extension
So the subsequent time you pot up your vegetation, simply add soilless potting combine and nothing else, And naturally, make sure that there are good drainage holes within the pot.

Categories: Gardening