Do Pots Need Gravel at the Bottom?

Do Pots Need Gravel at the Bottom?

Today,  I received a question about gow bags, that is, "Do I need to put stones on the bottom of the planter bag before the soil?"  For the question, we do not recommend to put stones on bags. Here I share an article to answer this question.

The custom of filling the bottom of a planting container with gravel is not only a myth, but it could be harmful to the container's plant. When you understand why gravel is not your best option for pots and what else you can do for proper pots' drainage, you can put that information to use and have healthier container plants in your garden or inside your home.

Pot Drainage

Pot drainage is critical to ensuring that a container plant's roots don't rot. Every container you use must have a drainage hole at its bottom to allow for excess water to flow out of the container. Proper drainage keeps plants from drowning due to a lack of oxygen in their soil.

Gravel's Function

A layer of gravel at the bottom of a planting container was recommended for decades, even in published books about container plants. That erroneous advice may lead to root damage in plants. When gravel is at the bottom of a pot, it takes up room that otherwise soil would fill, making the pot much smaller for its plant. Water does not pass through a gravel layer at a container's bottom as quickly as it passes through soil. The pot's soil becomes saturated before water moves out of it and into the gravel, which is a situation that could kill the plant growing in the pot. Gravel also adds unnecessary weight to a plant container because it is heavier than most lightweight potting soils.

Proper Drainage Alternative

In order for plant pots to have proper drainage, use potting soil in them rather than a combination of gravel and potting soil. Placing a paper coffee filter at the bottom of a pot before filling the pot with potting soil prevents that soil from spilling out of the container's bottom drainage holes. Coffee filters are designed to let water pass through them while holding solid material.

Proper Procedure

Prepare each plant container by creating a drainage hole in its bottom, if it doesn't already have one, and covering the container's interior bottom with a paper coffee filter if desired. Remove the plant from its original container. If the plant's roots grew together in a tight, spiraling clump, then snip the roots that circumnavigate the root ball from top to bottom, and gently pull them outward to loosen the tightly bound roots. Only enough potting soil should be placed in the pot's bottom so the plant, when placed on top of that soil, will be at the top of the container. Hold the plant upright inside the container on top of the small layer of soil, and pour additional potting soil around the plant to hold it in place. If loosely filling the pot, the soil will settle into the container after you water the soil.


By Homeguides, March 31, 2019

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