Scottish Rock Garden Club Forum

Cultivation => Cultivation Problems => Topic started by: John85 on November 14, 2011, 07:10:25 AM

Title: Drainage in pots
Post by: John85 on November 14, 2011, 07:10:25 AM
At beechgrove radio Ian just told us not to put a layer of gravel in the bottom of the pots to improve drainage.We often read the opposite and that the gaps between the gravel do some air pruning,preventing the roots to grow out of the pots too quickly.But if he told us, he must have tried it.
Is it possible to have a bit more explanations as it seems so strange?
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: ranunculus on November 14, 2011, 09:06:09 AM
The wonderful David Mowle is renowned for his drainage/compost experiments. He concludes that drainage material should be constant throughout the compost and works more effectively this way.
David has spent many hours weighing, calibrating and experimenting with different sizes and sharpnesses of grit and his conclusions have appeared in a number of worthy publications.
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Maggi Young on November 14, 2011, 09:16:55 AM
John, you have hit the nail on the head: the myth that gravel must be put in the bottom of containers has been repeated by gardeners by mouth, by book and by radio and television for too many years.  As Cliff says, David Mowle is correct when he asserts, as does Ian, that the capacity for good drainage must be "built-in" to the potting mix.  Good aeration and drainage for a mix are achieved by the incorporation of gravel  into a mix. The addition of gravell or a "layer of broken pots"  or similar to the bottom of a container only encourages the formation of a perched water table. This phenomenom has been known for a very long time in science.... "google " perched water table to find all about the feature in geology..... it is simply that someone once wrote the gravel in the bottom "rule" and  thousands have blindly followed and repeated it since then.  There are other "canards" in horticulture, of course, but this is a real bugbear. Heaven knows the millions of plants killed by the use of this advice.


As Thomas Paine  wrote : "A long habit of not thinking a thing is wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right".

It is a shame that so many of the so-called "experts", who are fond of claiming that they believe nothing (new!) until it is scientifically proved, do not apply the same rigour  to their own beliefs.

Yes, we have all been told, since we were beginners, that this is what we should be doing.... but trust me... and Ian.....  good drainage comes from constructing a well-draining mixture in the first place.
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Maggi Young on November 14, 2011, 09:18:24 AM
Thomas Paine said it rather well in the 18th century, but here's a story I read that also speaks volumes about why it is always a good idea to have an inquiring mind and take nothing for granted :

Philosophy of Life: So That's Why They Do It!

Start with a cage containing five apes.

In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put
stairs under it. Before long, an ape will go to
the stairs and start to climb towards the
banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray
all of the apes with cold water.

After a while, another ape makes an attempt with
the same result - all the apes are sprayed with
cold water. This continues through several more
attempts. Pretty soon, when another ape tries to
climb the stairs, the other apes all try to prevent
it.

Now, turn off the cold water. Remove one ape
from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new
ape sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs.
To his horror, all of the other apes attack him.
After another attempt and attack, he knows that if
he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five apes
and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes
to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer
takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm. Again,
replace a third original ape with a new one. The
new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as
well. Two of the four apes that beat him have no
idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs,
or why they are participating in the beating of the
newest ape.

After replacing the fourth and fifth original apes,
all the apes, which have been sprayed with cold water,
have been replaced. Nevertheless, no ape ever again
approaches the stairs. Why not?

Because that's the way they've always done it and
that's the way it's always been around here.

And that's how company policy or "tradition" begins....     :-X
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Maggi Young on November 14, 2011, 09:20:08 AM
For anyone still in doubt, here is an experiment for you to conduct:

Take two empty, clear 2-litre plastic bottles. Drill a hole in the bottom of each and cut off the top/neck of the bottle so you have a full width opening. In one bottle fill in half the height with gravel, (you could use  polystyrene "peanuts" or something else as "drainage" in which case you might need to add a barrier to stop the soil falling right through) and add your favourite potting mix.
The second bottle simply gets filled with your potting mix.
Pour 0.5 litre of water into each bottle and leave them to stand for a while.  After a couple hours put the bottles side by side and see how far up the soil in each bottle there are still signs of it being soaked. You will find the level in the "drained" bottle will be well above the level in the other one. Compare the 2 drained zones and see the difference in the amount of space available for healthy root growth.
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: ranunculus on November 14, 2011, 09:38:18 AM
Thomas Paine said it rather well in the 18th century, but here's a story I read that also speaks volumes about why it is always a good idea to have an inquiring mind and take nothing for granted :

Philosophy of Life: So That's Why They Do It!

Start with a cage containing five apes.

In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put
stairs under it. Before long, an ape will go to
the stairs and start to climb towards the
banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray
all of the apes with cold water.

After a while, another ape makes an attempt with
the same result - all the apes are sprayed with
cold water. This continues through several more
attempts. Pretty soon, when another ape tries to
climb the stairs, the other apes all try to prevent
it.

Now, turn off the cold water. Remove one ape
from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new
ape sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs.
To his horror, all of the other apes attack him.
After another attempt and attack, he knows that if
he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five apes
and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes
to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer
takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm. Again,
replace a third original ape with a new one. The
new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as
well. Two of the four apes that beat him have no
idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs,
or why they are participating in the beating of the
newest ape.

After replacing the fourth and fifth original apes,
all the apes, which have been sprayed with cold water,
have been replaced. Nevertheless, no ape ever again
approaches the stairs. Why not?

Because that's the way they've always done it and
that's the way it's always been around here.

And that's how company policy or "tradition" begins....     :-X


I can verify this ... I was that ape!
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Tim Ingram on November 14, 2011, 10:17:51 AM
And I was the one watching and waiting for them all to go away so I could eat the banana in peace! Wonderful story Maggi!!
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Paul Cumbleton on November 14, 2011, 04:42:02 PM
The "layer of gravel for drainage" issue is indeed one of those old gardening myths that just won't die. I have lectured and posted about this extensively before. To save everyone searching for these, I reproduce below the posting I made originally to the forum of the Pacific Bulb Society, which is the most detailed one I've made. It is a condensed version of a lecture I regularly give to the trainees at Wisley, and also demonstrate in one of the talks I give to AGS groups etc. It's quite long - but then it is your choice if you read it or not!
Paul

"I was so pleased to see the discussion on this and especially delighted to
see the correct answers being given. The old myth of adding a layer of grit
or other material to the bottom of a pot "for drainage" seems never to die,
despite the science that disproves its efficacy being known for over a
hundred years.

I have regarded it as something of a personal mission to correct this old
misunderstanding. Each intake of trainees here at the RHS Wisley Garden
where I work has a lecture from me specifically on this subject trying to
explain the science behind drainage in reasonably simple terms. If you will
excuse a long posting, I here present an edited version for those of you who
are interested. If this is not your thing, please just scroll on past! Note,
although these notes talk about alpines, the same things apply to bulbs or
any other plants requiring good drainage:

What is Important in a Compost Mix?

In the wild, many alpines grow in situations where water drains away very
quickly and easily - this is known as "sharp" drainage. This results in many
air spaces around the roots. When growing in a pot, we need to provide
similar conditions and make a mix that while holding sufficient water to
supply the plant, drains excess water very rapidly to leave lots of air
spaces. Before looking at how to achieve this, let's first ask:

Why is it important to have lots of air spaces?

Roots not only take up water, they take up and need oxygen too. Roots are
normally covered by a thin film of water. Oxygen has to diffuse across this
before it can enter the root. Oxygen diffuses through water relatively
slowly. So the thicker the layer of water around the root, the longer it
takes oxygen to diffuse through it to get to the root, which may result in
the roots being starved of oxygen. Without it, they cannot metabolise and
perform their functions - one of which is to take up water. This explains
why the symptoms of plants being over-watered or under-watered are the same:
If under-watered there is insufficient water to supply the plant and so it
wilts. If over-watered, there is plenty of water around but the roots cannot
take it up due to being short of oxygen. So the result is the same - the
plant may be sitting in water but it wilts because it cannot take the water
in.

The reason for going into all this is that plants vary on just how sensitive
they are to the amounts of oxygen in the growing medium - and alpines are
among those plants that require a high degree of aeration.  This is why when
growing alpines we aim to produce a mix which is very free-draining, so
leaving plenty of air spaces in the medium. The percentage of the volume of
a medium that contains air after it has been saturated then allowed to drain
is called the Air Filled Porosity (AFP). For the majority of plants, a
figure between 10% and 20% AFP is aimed at; for alpines this figure needs to
be at the higher end of this range or even above.

So when we say a plant needs good drainage, it may be more informative to
say that what they need is good aeration (which is created by good
drainage).

What factors affect drainage?

1. Pore Size - Pores are the spaces between (and within) the solid parts of
a medium and they contain the air and water required by the plant for
growth. Pores vary enormously in size. The relative numbers of large and
small ones, the way they are grouped and how interconnected they are will
determine the rate of water movement through the mix and also determine how
much air and water are retained. It is these factors that you can alter by
adding drainage material such as grit, and the extent of the effect will
vary depending on the particle size of the grit you use and the amount you
add to a mix.
   
The most important factor is the relative proportion of big pores to little
ones. This is because of a key point: small pores hold onto water more
strongly than large ones - due mainly to capillary action. This means that
small pores (called micropores) retain water, which leaves no room for air,
while big ones (called macropores) tend to drain most of their water leaving
air in its place. It follows that fine sands are not suitable as drainage
components- the fine particles simply fall into the larger air spaces,
clogging them up and producing smaller pores that hold on to water - in
other words you get poorer drainage, the opposite of what you want. So, use
only coarse grits as drainage material - in practise, this means ones with
most of the particles larger than 1.6mm diameter.

2. Quantity of Grit used - If you add a very small amount of grit to a
medium it will not help the drainage, it will simply displace some of the
medium. For grit to work as a drainage medium there must be enough of it so
that it exceeds what is called the threshold proportion. The threshold
proportion is where there is just enough grit that the particles touch each
other. At this point, the pores between the grit are still filled with soil
and humus and no new macropores have been created. More grit must be added
to further "dilute" the medium so it exceeds the threshold. At this point,
new macropores are created that drain readily and provide aeration. In
practice, most alpine growers use between 30% and 50% (by volume) of grit in
their mixes to achieve this.

3. Pot Depth and Perched Water Tables - When you water into a pot and excess
starts coming out the bottom, it is coming out due to a mix of gravity
pulling on it and the weight of water above pushing down on it (the
"hydraulic head"). As water drains, there is a point at which gravity or the
hydraulic head are insufficient to push any more water out. So at the bottom
of each pot there is a layer where ALL the pores are filled with water. This
is called a perched water table. This is true of all pots whatever mix it
contains - at the bottom of every pot there is always a perched water table.
Wouldn't it be good if we could prevent this?

This brings us to the old myth. "Put a layer of grit or other coarse
material at the bottom of pots and containers to provide drainage". You will
hear such advice repeated again and again in books, on websites and TV
programmes. Materials recommended for such use may include gravel, grit,
sand, broken up clay pots or polystyrene bits, all to be added "for
drainage". If you ask the person giving this advice as to EXACTLY why they
think this will work, they often don't know - it's just something they have
been taught or read about and they have never stopped to think why it might
work. If they do have an explanation, it is usually to point out that coarse
materials have large air spaces that drain more easily than small air
spaces. This is of course correct as we saw earlier. HOWEVER this applies to
the materials ALONE. They don't stop to think what happens if you start
putting materials in layers. What actually happens is that drainage is
HINDERED by this practice and water tends to accumulate at the boundary
between the two layers. This happens for two reasons:

a) As we learned earlier, small pores hang on to water more strongly than
large ones. Because of this, when you have a medium with smaller pores above
one with larger pores, the water has difficulty crossing the boundary. There
is insufficient "strength" in the larger pores to pull the water out of the
smaller ones above where they are held more strongly by capillary action. So
instead of the water draining evenly from the pot, it drains to the
interface between the two layers then slows down or may even be stopped
altogether until a sufficiently large hydraulic head has built up again to
force it across the boundary. This of course means when the compost above is
completely saturated! Since the stated goal for using a layer of coarse
material is "to improve drainage", it is ironic that this practise actually
causes the very state it is intended to prevent!
      
b) Secondly, the natural "perched water table" we learned about has now been
forced to form higher up the pot giving what is called a RAISED perched
water table. This leaves even less of the volume of the pot which contains
well-drained and well-aerated compost.

There is however a way to remove the perched water table from a pot, so that
the whole volume of the pot is well drained: Plunge the pot in a sand
plunge. For this to work, ensure that the compost in the pot makes good
contact with the sand beneath. This has the effect of greatly increasing the
length of the pot so that the perched water table doesn't form until the
water reaches the bottom of the plunge. Sometimes people put a piece of
broken pot over the drainage hole of clay pots - but this will break the
continuity between the compost and the plunge so this will not then work. A
good modern alternative is to cover the drainage hole in clay pots with a
piece of plastic net. This will help stop compost trickling out but not
entirely break the continuity between compost and plunge. Removing the
perched water tables from pots is probably the most important function that
a plunge serves, so it is strange that this aspect is rarely mentioned these
days when the functions of a plunge are discussed."

I should conclude by saying that the hindrance effect of putting a layer of grit at the bottom of pots is a small one; most plants will not care if you do it or if you don't. But for sensitive plants the effect can be enough to make the difference between success or failure in growing it successfully. But in any case, be it is a large or small effect, this technique does not work and I believe we simply shouldn't passing on
ideas which are false.

Good growing everyone"

Paul Cumbleton
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Maggi Young on November 14, 2011, 04:44:01 PM
Thanks, Paul  8)
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: David Nicholson on November 14, 2011, 06:41:50 PM
...... and from me too. You learn something new every day on this Forum.
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Gerry Webster on November 14, 2011, 08:08:22 PM
Many years ago Kath Dryden dismissed the myth of a 'drainage' requirement in the bottom of pots. Following her,  I have never used it.
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Ezeiza on November 15, 2011, 01:08:05 AM
Originally the gravel layer or crocks were used to prevent the bottom drainage hole from being clogged by soil/mix dragged down by watering. Of course they had no idea of the consequence: a water layer at bottom level that supplied an additional source of water that ascended by capillarity.

Besides the plunge bed that looks fantastically attractive and neat, a very simple way to get rid of the perched water table is to cut vertical slits at the pot sides. Our South African friend Heinie has shown a variation of this method in his photos (in his case, several round holes around the bottom of the  sides.
Millions and millions of commercial pots have holes at their sides or little "legs" to have the bottom HOLES suspended.
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: John85 on November 15, 2011, 07:13:09 AM
Thank you all.
Maggi says that there are several other horticultural myths like this one .
Can you name another one?
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Darren on November 15, 2011, 08:00:24 AM
Thank you all.
Maggi says that there are several other horticultural myths like this one .
Can you name another one?

'Don't water in sunshine because the water drops act like a magnifying glass and scorch the leaves'
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: John85 on November 15, 2011, 08:29:57 AM
Darren I am not so sure that's a myth:I have had that on hydrangea leaves by doing so and no it was not the water that was very hot due to the hose left in the sun.
Some other suggestions???
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Darren on November 15, 2011, 10:52:53 AM
Darren I am not so sure that's a myth:I have had that on hydrangea leaves by doing so and no it was not the water that was very hot due to the hose left in the sun.
Some other suggestions???

I'd be interested in other views on this one as well. Unlike John I've never personally seen any evidence that this is true (and I don't grow Hydrangeas). In fact I've frequently heard the view expressed that this is a myth. That said - the view is expressed usually by alpine experts who point out that showers and strong sun together are frequently encountered in the mountains. I could accept that for woodland plants with sensitive leaves that sun + water drops = scorch.

One mistake I won't make again is watering the larger hardy geraniums overhead when they look like they are suffering on a hot day - the weight of the water often makes them collapse and they never seem to stand up and look tidy again!

Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Heinie on November 17, 2011, 07:52:45 PM
I was also advised by my parents to put large stones, broken tiles and what ever is large to create good drainage in the pot. I applied that "trick" all my life until I found an article of Paul Cumbleton about Drainage Mythology somewhere on the internet a few years ago. It took me a while to properly understand the principle of the "perched water table" because my Dad was right in what he taught me. No he was wrong once I was convinced by the article which was very similar to what you wrote above. I am now using that article to promote the correct method of drainage to plant collectors as well as my Clivia growing friends because we always have differences in the correct medium to use.

Paul, I hope you do not mind that I am using your expert advice when I send the method to my friends to make hard copies. I copied the method into a Word document which makes it easy to print and your name is at the bottom of the document.

Thank you for teaching me a very important lesson about drainage in that article.

Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Maggi Young on November 17, 2011, 08:01:34 PM
Ian returned to the subject in his Bulb Log this week http://www.srgc.org.uk/logs/logdir/2011Nov161321442879BULB_LOG_4611.pdf

If only the message could get through to the "experts" on TV and radio and writing books ...... :-X
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Katherine J on November 18, 2011, 08:59:39 AM
I also thank you Paul and Ian!
I've learnt from older bonsai growers and other gardeners to put a layer of grit, than a layer of peat and then the potting mix. The peat would hinder the potting mix to mix with the gravel. Sincerely I did not think too much of why this does not work as we wanted to, but I realised many times that it didn't. And for some years I have not used it any more.

Last year I've got a flowering Pleione in a pot, from a friend. It was planted in some soil mixed with sand and he told me he put a good layer of polystyrene particles on the bottom, "for good drainage". I also bought a Pleione bulb which I planted in a mix made by me, following Paul Cumbleton's advice on his website (http://www.pleione.info/). During summer both of pots were plunged in one of my miniature gardens, which is a little "woodland". The first Pleione in the pot with soil and drainage layer rotted by the end of summer. The second, with the compost made by me is fine, with 3 large bulblets I hope will flower next year (during winter I put them of course in a dry, frost-free cellar).
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Anthony Darby on November 18, 2011, 10:20:09 AM
Thank you all.
Maggi says that there are several other horticultural myths like this one .
Can you name another one?
Planting snowdrops "in the green"?
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: ashley on November 18, 2011, 01:41:30 PM
Deadheading rhododendrons
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Maggi Young on November 18, 2011, 01:51:40 PM
Deadheading rhododendrons
exactly! Of course, NOT deadheading rhodos can make them look a bit untidy but most types will only hold back on making their new growth for a very short time after the flowers are dead as opposed to when they make the new growth when deadheaded.
Since some ofthe tiny rhodos seem to keep their dead, papery flower on them, making them look scruffy, I like to tidy those up, not by dead heading as such but by giving the bushed a rough rub over to dislodge the spent flowers.  It has the same instantly gratifying effect of cutting the edges of a lawn  :)

I have deadheaded some rhodos, such as R. rex fictolacteum in the past because he just looks neater that way, but now he's much bigger I can no longer manage to do that from a step ladder so his flower heads get left on.

I cannot tell you how many hours I spent thoroughly dead-heading bushes of small flowered rhodos VERY thoroughly in the the dim and distant past... before I realised I was wasting my time! :P
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Neil on November 18, 2011, 02:24:26 PM
This layer of grit to aid drainage, which is false, in a pot I presume that the same could be said of raised bed. I have 600mm of soil well mixed with grit etc to help drainage, then a layer of crushed brick 60mm then the soil of the garden.  I don't really want to remove 12 cubic metres, it was bad enough putting it into the bed! to remove the brick and disposing of it. 
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Maggi Young on November 18, 2011, 02:32:39 PM
The world is full of folks who have taken the opportunity of needing to raise a bed to get rid of rubble and junk, Neil..... We've done it ourselves!

With a bit of luck you will find that the large weight of soil above the rubble, as will be the case with your bed, will be enough to force the soil down into... and through... the rubble layer and so (in time) provide a continuous "wick" for drainage throughout.

Don't panic ! ;D ;)
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Martin Baxendale on November 18, 2011, 03:59:13 PM
Thank you all.
Maggi says that there are several other horticultural myths like this one .
Can you name another one?

That snowdrops need "wet" soil!!! I see this in a gardening magazine or newspaper feature at least once a year.
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Neil on November 18, 2011, 05:45:35 PM
Thanks  Maggi
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Rick R. on November 18, 2011, 06:17:53 PM
'Don't water in sunshine because the water drops act like a magnifying glass and scorch the leaves'

If indeed a water droplet magnifies light to the point of scorching, would this heat not also be transferred to the droplet itself?  And since the evaporation of water, occurring at "all" temperatures (and increasing exponentially at warmer relative temps) cools a surface, would this not keep the droplet cooler than one might think, thereby possibly preventing scorching?  Would it be enough to make a significant difference?

John, is the "scorching" of those hydrangea leaves actually necrosis, or a discoloration of another sort?  It is known (I am told) that African violet leaf water spots are caused by a  certain threshold of difference in temperature of the leaf itself relative to the water that contacts with it.  Where leaf and water are the same temperature, spotting does not occur.  Where leaf and water tempertures differ by 10C (or whatever that threshold is), spotting does occur.   Could this phenomenon also apply to the hydrangea?
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Ezeiza on November 18, 2011, 09:35:14 PM
That the only solution for a perched water table in A pot is to place it in a plunge bed!
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: John85 on November 19, 2011, 08:18:00 AM
Maggi
I am just building more raised beds.Do you think it will be right to put the draining mixture(soil+sand+gravel) straight on the existing soil(a heavy loam) or is it better to increase the proportion of soil bits by bits.Till now I have put stones between as was adviced nearly everywhere but if I can avoid it...nice :savings!
Darren
It left yellow spots(about 5 mm) here and there on the leaf .
I have seen the same thing after a very short shower in summer followed by a bright sun.And then many more plants with a soft foliage suffered the damage.
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Ezeiza on November 20, 2011, 12:52:04 PM
A big mistake would be to fill the bed in layers of different materials: it has been shown over and over that water collects in a table when passing from one material to another, actually impeding drainage. Mixing all the materials together improves drainage comparatively.

If you can not  (and if you can) obtain crushed rock, gravel, etc. to mix with the clay base make sure to install wide drainage pipes at the base of the raised bed to force any water collecting there out. Not completely horizontal but slanting to the outside of the bed.
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: ranunculus on November 21, 2011, 11:59:22 AM
Thank you all.
Maggi says that there are several other horticultural myths like this one .
Can you name another one?



That Ranunculus glacialis flowers turn red only after they have been pollinated.  


Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Gerry Webster on November 21, 2011, 12:41:52 PM
As Maggi has noted, a raised bed is a good way to get rid of builders' rubble & other junk. I have made 3 such beds. I've never thought  that  rubble by itself  can 'assist drainage'  so, before putting in the soil mix, I washed in coarse sharp sand to fill all the gaps in the rubble.* I do the same thing with troughs & large, free-standing, terracotta, long tom pots but not with smaller plunged pots. I have lots of problems with growing plants but I don't think drainage is one of them.

* I also installed drainage pipes in the beds as Alberto suggests.
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: LoisRichter on July 13, 2019, 11:50:38 PM
Have any of you tried threading a cotton "wick" through the drainage hole of your indoor pots?
It seems to me that that would break up the perched water table and solve the problem.
If it does, then might a solution to the raised planter be to auger some hole straight down thru into the lower lever of soil and bury short lengths of rope in them?  I'm thinking that would give the water a continuous path to run down in several places.
Any thoughts on this idea?
-- Lois Richter in California.
(This idea came after hearing about using cotton wicks to get water up into African violet plants from a tray below the pot.)
Title: Re: Drainage in pots
Post by: Hannelore on July 14, 2019, 08:41:38 AM
Sorry - I found this thread just now.
Thank you all.
Maggi says that there are several other horticultural myths like this one .
Can you name another one?
From the grocery garden:
- Plant onions together with carrots because the onion fly doesn't like the carrot smell and vice versa: At the same time, when onions have to be kept dry to develop storable qualities, the carrots need a lot of water to become thick.
- Lettuce is not hardy. It is.

To add something to the original thread: When potting seedling for the first time and only for some time until the go out into the garden beds, I place a layer of toilet paper at the bottom of the pot. It prevents clay to be washed out and is almost gone when the planting starts.

Hannelore