drainage in pots

Alberto Castillo ezeizabotgard@hotmail.com
Sun, 13 Feb 2005 16:15:28 PST

>From: JFlintoff@aol.com
>Reply-To: Pacific Bulb Society <pbs@lists.ibiblio.org>
>To: pbs@lists.ibiblio.org
>Subject: [pbs] drainage in pots
>Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2005 16:26:20 -0500
>     I'm curious to know what kind of side drainage holes in pots you mean. 
>  How far from the base would they extend or do you mean basal drainage 
>holes and separate holes on the sides?
>    Thanks,
>Jerry John Flintoff
>Vashon Island,Washington,USA
>Zone 8

Hi Jerry:
Actually better than round holes are vertical slits. In our case we use many 
5 gallon containers. In each three vertical slits are cut some 20 cm (8 in.) 
long. They are equidistantly cut in the side of the container from the 
bottom up and in fact cutting a bit of the bottom. For such a container size 
the cut is up to 1 cm wide (say slightly over 1/3 in.). For a 5 in. pot 
three 2 in. long slits would be perfect. Unless your containers are on mesh 
benches (and who grows their plants  this way I wonder?) the bottom holes 
are useless. When people say that they are growing plants in such and such 
container size it is seldom true. Only the upper fraction lets roots 
survive. Half or 3/4 of the pot is saturated with water and roots would not 
venture into it. If you plant your bulbs deeply the roots will drown and rot 
will set in from the dead roots to the basal plate and it is all over. To 
avoid this you must exclude excess water that collects by gravity in the 
bottom of the container taking a long time to pass through the bottom hole: 
a few round holes even in the side of the pot are often not enough. Hence 
the long slits. These are easy to cut in most soft plastic pots with 
scissors or with the proper tool in hard plastic or even clay pots.. And, of 
course they are permanent. You only need to take the trouble to make them 
once. With this most simple scheme  you can change the life of your plants 
completely. Besides plants growing far better you will save a lot of time 
and labour. Mixes will last longer with less frequent repotting and 
As for the most interesting subject of styrofoam, we made a series of 
experiments years ago. It was all very promising, imagine saving a lot of 
mix and at the same time recycling a product that is utter garbage.  In 
short, it proved a disaster in all cases, chunks, peanuts, cubes and bars. 
The problem is that styrofoam has a nasty property of remaining wet in the 
pot thus serving as an additional source of water to saturate the mix by 
capillary action. In other words it makes the mix lighter and saves mixes 
but impedes drainage.  It is just another case of white things turning black 
unexpectedly. And, it has happened with other promising materials. But more 
of this later.
All the best. Be bold and start cutting side slits in your pots
And Joe, don't do it.

MSN Amor: busca tu ½ naranja http://latam.msn.com/amor/

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