Line the sides of clay pots with polythene. This stops the compost drying out so quickly and helps prevent frost from cracking the pots.
Add a tiny sprinkling of watering-absorbing polymer (such as Swell Gel) to the compost when planting containers. The granules can hold up to 400 time their volume of water. Too much and the compost will turn to soggy jelly.
Put a small saucer in the bottom of hanging baskets before planting to act as water reservoir. Line the side with black polythene to reduce evaporation but make some small holes around the bottom to allow drainage.
Cover bare compost around large specimens in containers with light coloured pebbles. This will reduce evaporation and reflect heat.
Group container plants close together. They will share in the moist micro-atmosphere created by evaporation from compost and leaves.
Written By Alistair Ayres
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