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Wellspring Gardens
Culture Information

Special Gardens
Container Gardening can be just as rewarding as having a full size garden. It is the solution for many who don't have the room or the climate to sustain the plants they wish to grow. Plants and even trees grown in containers are usually maintained in a smaller form and do just as well in pots as they do in the ground.

Consider a few things first. Community pots are very interesting when varied heights, colors, and textures of plants are used. Try using several different types of plants. Make sure the water, light, fertilization and other requirements are similar for all the plants in the container. Also be sure that the size of the container matches the size of your plant. Of course overly large trees can be dwarfed by keeping in a container.

Good drainage is important and along with overwatering is one of the prime reasons for failure in container gardening. Fertilization can usually be reduced in frequency and amount.

Microclimates are areas that are warmer or cooler than the surrounding areas because of an environmental feature or proximity to a building or home. Locations near bodies of water may not fluctuate in temperature as dramatically as other areas. Proximity to a house may provide a few degrees of extra warmth in winter or coolness in summer making a big difference in the success of a plant.

Fertilizers include two components: macro and micronutrients. The macros are listed prominently by three numbers e.g.: 10-10-10. They stand for Nitrogen-Phosphurus-Potassium or N-P-K. Most plants require these in fairly substantial amounts and the micronutrients in somewhat smaller amounts. Micronutrients include: Iron, Magnesium,
Fertilizers shouldn't come in contact with any portion of a plant including the trunk and stems. Remember it's the roots that are being nourished so broadcast lightly in the root zone and just beyond.
Problem Pests should be dealt with immediately and the routine continued for several weeks so that hatching eggs do not reinfest the plant. A number of solutions are very effective and safe. Isolate the plant(s) if possible. In a spray bottle mix a quart of water with one teaspoon liquid (non-germicidal) soap. In another spray bottle mix a quart of water and a teaspoon of vegetable or cooking oil (shake before use.) Alternate using the two weekly until the pest problem is eradicated. After an initial spray manually remove the pests if the infestation is heavy with q-tip or a gentle water spray. These can be used quite effectively against many common pests including the following:
Thrips commonly cause damage to flowering by plants nestling among petals and discoloring the leaves. They are tiny long black insects that are apparent around flowers.
Aphids are prolific breeders. Once they multiply they can cause damage quickly. They suck out plant juices usually from underneath tender plant leaves where they are hidden from view. Aphids also excrete a sticky substance known as honeydew, a sugary deposit that encourages fungus. See an ant? Check for aphids. Ants love the honeydew and will even "farm" the aphids on your plants.  
Whiteflies cling to the bottoms of leaves. They are usually exposed when leaves are disturbed. They are especially difficult because they spread so easily and quickly.

Red spider mites leave web-like strands between leaves. They are otherwise difficult to detect but they are destructive, biting and tearing at plant tissue.

Mealy bugs are evident by little white cotton wool-looking blobs that appear at the leaf joints and close to the stems and near the veins. These are homes for mealy bugs. Heavy infestations can be destructive. Manually remove and also spray.

Scale insects lay their eggs in little blister or scale-like clusters. Of course they will usually be under leaves or near stems. These scales act as incubators for eggs and can be eradicated by scraping off visible scales and then spraying weekly.
Depending on the severity of the infestation, repeated sprays over the course of a few weeks will contain the problem. Sprays containing the following pesticides may also be effective: permethrin, pyrethrum, derris, and malathion.

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