Container gardening through the winter is one of the great joys of living in the South. The new AquaPots have eliminated the last of the anxieties — watering and feeding. We all are used to watering and applying fertilizer in the summer, but it has been somewhat of a mystery or roll of the dice in the winter.
We’ve been taught to give water when the soil is dry to the touch, but that method is challenging, to say the least, when temperatures are in the 40s and the ever-present cold front has moved through.
Many cool season annuals are also heavy feeders. Research has shown that the controlled-release granules, which need heat to disperse those needed nutrients, are not nearly as efficient in comparison to applying water-soluble fertilizer. Who wants to lug a water bucket around with your favorite liquid blue mix when it’s cold?
This is where AquaPots hit the game-changing home run. The ingenious self-watering concept is based on a water-holding reservoir in the lower chamber of the pot with a soil-holding shelf in the upper chamber. The water now mixed, your water-soluble fertilizer wicks up to the soil and plant’s root zone via a cylinder that connects the chambers. The water will be there as the plant needs it.
You may be thinking, how did the water and fertilizer get into the reservoir? A tube hidden by the flowers or foliage allows you to insert water-soluble fertilizer, followed by a water hose for the weekly filling. Depending on your AquaPot size, this filling time period may be longer than a week.
No longer will you splash soil all over the patio or ruin flowers with the force of fire hydrant-like water pressure. No water or fertilizer stains on the patio or deck, either! If you think you might add too much water, forget it, there is an escape hole.
This was where The Garden Guy had a needless apprehension this past year. It seemed as though we had a deluge every day. So I was fearful of the containers getting waterlogged and killing the plants. It simply can’t happen with the little escape valve or hole for excess water. This system is truly ingenious.
The glazed ceramic containers are handcrafted, adding a touch of elegance wherever they are used. They come in various sizes, shapes, and colors, many of which are sure to fit your taste.
No amount of mechanical skill or reasoning is required to put together, zero, zip, nada. As my wife, Jan, will attest, following directions is not among my skill sets. Trust me, I put my AquaPots together not in minutes, but mere seconds.
Planting is exactly the same as in any other container. Just like I have always written, don’t skimp when it comes to the quality of your potting soil. It needs to be light, fluffy and the best.
AquaPots add beauty and a newfound freedom when it comes to watering the plants we love. It also gives you confidence — maybe for the first time — that you are supplying the water and fertilizer just at the right moment, which is as the plants need it. This is a remarkable feeling, especially for the winter or cool season mixed-containers.
Norman Winter is a horticulturist, garden speaker and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.
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