There are a lot of different types of planters out there. They come in different shapes, sizes, and materials they’re built from. So pick your planter depending upon the volume of soil needed, the place you want to put it, etc. Before you start filling them up, understand that they have to be well-drained and protected from the elements. Some planters need to be protected from the elements. If for example, you are getting cement-made planter, they may need weatherproof paint.
Steps to prepare the planters:
1.Clean the planters
Clean and disinfect your planter. If you are using an old planter this is very important as any old bacteria or fungi is bound to be carried over especially if the plant was sick. You can use common disinfectants here. I would usually use bleach or any surface disinfectant. Make sure there is no grime and the inner surface is smooth.
2.Check for any damages
Check your planter for any cracks or chipping, you may want to use another planter to avoid having to work your way again in case the damage leads to it breaking soon. You can seal any cracks with putty or cement or any other bonding agent. Cracks are easy to deal with breakers as roots can enter a crack and widen it. This will lead to a damaged planter way too soon. Happens commonly with cement and stone planters. Lining may be required as in the next steps.
3.Clear the drainage holes
Wooden planters will have slits to let air through. Ceramic planters would ideally come with holes but if they don’t you need a diamond bit for your drill. A diamond drill bit can cut through ceramic, glass, and stone with ease. Use water as lubricant and coolant while drilling. Drainage holes are essential to let excess water drain through as well as air to reach the roots from the bottom.
4.Line up the planter
Lining up the planters will plastic liners or available synthetic liners in the market. Lining the planters inside will protect and give them long life and also save them from cracking and bulging. Most lining will also protect against bacteria and fungus buildup. It will go a long way to prevent any disease-causing germs to get to your plants this way.
5.Add the Filler
Add filler at the bottom of the planter. It’s ideally some river rocks, small ones though. If you are concerned with weight and if your planter is delicate, you can put mulch, styrofoam packing, beanbag fillings, etc. Do not overdo it. Do not fill with junk that can decompose and create problems later. If the planter is too small like 10 inches or below, you can just skip the part and add a screen above the hole and it should be ok. Fillers are generally placed in large ones.
6.Add the screen
Add a synthetic screen preferably, as it will not decompose and fall apart. You can use a net from any old fabric. Torn sports clothing usually has plenty of netting. You can use jute net or coir net also. Place the net covering the filler completely. Do not use more than 1 or 2 laters as it may just start blocking the drainage if it’s too dense.
7.Top the soil up
Now is the time to top the planter up with some good-quality soil. You can use our guide on how to create the perfect soil mix for that part. You may also get potting soil from store shelves. Make sure you add slow-release fertilizer to our own perfect soil if you are using that. Potting soil usually does have that premixed. It will help release nutrients slowly over time so that you do not need to fertilize the soil often. Adding colorful pebbles as a top layer after planting the tree/plant/succulent will ensure no weeds take over. You can also read more about killing weeds in your garden here.
Consider the following planter properties for the best experience:
- Metallic planters: They get too hot and too cold and will burn or chill the roots of the plants. Metallic planters also do not breathe. Best suited to moderate climates and indoors.
- Ceramic planters: Besides having an unbreathable wall, they also do not protect the roots from temperature much due to thin walls.
- Plastic or ABS: These planters have good thermal properties and protect the roots. Plastic planters have a short life yet ABS lasts much longer.
- Baked clay planters: Clay pottery planters are great for roots as they can breathe when unpainted and protect the roots somewhat from temperature changes. They also allow water to percolate and create a cooling effect in high summers.
- Wooden planters: Probably the best of them, very good insulation and they meet most other parameters easily.
- Other planters: Like vinyl, concrete, stone, etc. are also available and you would mostly be concerned when the size is small. Because with small sizes, the effect of heat or cold is pronounced. With large planters, the issue is mitigated.