Algae builds up on saucers when they are in the shade during afternoon hours or in a full shade location. The absence of water in saucers will also limit mosquito populations on your patio.
Hose out the saucers as often as possible with a jet setting on the hose.
When on irrigation, set the clock to run the pots for a shorter time to get less run off that collects in the saucers. If you are running your pots for five minutes every morning, reduce it by a minute until it seems to reach the point of enough saturation but little run off. If the pots dry out in the afternoon, add another run time after 3pm. In some cases we have set the pots for as little as two minutes three times a day. This is when you are using an Adjustable Emitter on a stake. If you are using inline emitters, the run times will be longer. (10-20 minutes)
Be mindful that the plants are getting enough water – especially any that are in more sun than others. Since annuals’ roots are in the upper 6-8” of soil, that depth of soil needs to be damp.
As the weather changes (sun, heat, wind, etc) the watering needs can change accordingly. If twice a day for less time is too little, you can try moving to three times a day for that length of time.
With pots 20+ inches in diameter and good growth, you will be able to adjust to once a day in the morning. This should then help the saucers to dry out.
Be sure your pots are on pot toes or feet in order to lift them above the saucer for better air circulation, drainage and to keep the water from wicking back up into the pot.
For more information on potted gardens in the desert, visit The Contained Gardener.
Have a question? Email Marylee!
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