Monday, December 16, 2013

Having a Blast with your Desert Potted Gardens

Posted By on Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Winter Color with  Mexican Bird of Paradise
  • The Potted Desert
  • Winter Color with Mexican Bird of Paradise

Hopefully you have heard me say that you should ‘blast´ your flowers and potted plants with a jet-spray of water on a regular basis. I know many in my potted gardening classes have looked at me funny when I tell them to do this.

So why do I push this activity on you? A jet spray applied to the structure of your potted plants, flowers, roses and even cactus will do several things. It will blow off any existing pests and it aerates the plants resulting in a proactive method of deterring any pests and disease that might adversely affect the plants. A healthy plant is more resistant to disease such as powdery mildew and pests such as spider mites and aphids.

Once newly planted gardens are well-rooted and show signs of new growth, it is safe to begin your regime of the jet blast spray. New buds and blossoms will not break off unless they are not well-tethered to their stem anyhow. Also, you do not need to worry about wetting the leaves in the sun. Recent research showed that the water droplets do not stay long enough on the plant to create a magnification of the sun on the leaves.

Here are the steps to take in planning your cooling jet program in your desert garden:
1. Before applying water to the plants, be sure the temperature coming out of your hose is cool. In order not to waste this first water, spray it into a bucket and let it cool off before using that water to water another plant, spray it into your pool or set the nozzle onto a shower setting and spray it through the air allowing the cooled water to gently fall on a vegetated area.
2. Jet spray your plants in the early morning hours.
3. You may do this daily in the summer and every few days in the winter. I suggest only spraying off cactus once a month.
4. Set your hose nozzle to the jet spray setting.
5. Stand back three to four feet from the plants.
6. Spray across the structure of the plants, NOT into the soil, and move the hose around so you are hitting them from all sides. Each pot will only need about 10-15 seconds of spraying.
7. When you are done, be sure to turn off the hose at the spigot and run the final water out of the hose by opening up the nozzle for a last spray.

You will find that your plants are much happier and healthier with this treatment. It is a pleasant way to start your day with a cup of tea or coffee in one hand and your trusty hose in the other. On hotter mornings, a little mist drifting around you is not such a bad thing either.

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Marylee is the founder and former owner of Tucson’s The Contained Gardener. With more than 15 years of successfully designing and growing potted gardens in the desert’s challenging and oftentimes harsh climate, Marylee has become known as the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Marylee is available for in-home or digital consultations and you can always email her with your questions and comments. Follow The Potted Desert on Facebook!

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