In an in-ground garden, mulch is an indispensable tool. Mulch helps prevent water from evaporating and cuts down on weeding by choking out weeds before they can take root. But in containers, mulch should be approached very carefully.
The wrong type of mulch in a container can be a disaster. For example, Lava rock can pull too much heat into the soil and cook your potted plants and wood chip mulch may contain pests such as termites. Instead, river rocks or decorative pebbles are a good choice for smaller containers.
For larger containers, large rocks and seashells are a good choice not only forntheirndecorative qualities, but also because their sharp edges will prevent cats and dogs from digging in the pots or using the dirt as a litter box. Other mulches that do well in potted plants include newspaper, landscaping fabric or even dried Spanish moss.
When using mulch in a container, treat the mulch as if you were using it on the ground. Spread the mulch over the soil in a medium-thick layer, but do not mound it up around the stem of the plant. The mounded up mulch can create a damp area around the plant’s stem that will let harmful fungus grow on the plant.
Do not make the mulch so thick that it creates a barrier that will not allow moisture to reach the soil. Once the mulch is in place, only water your plants when the soil is dry. This will prevent the growth of slime molds or fungi. A plant watering gauge with a probe will help you determine when the best time to water is. You can stick the probe into the soil without disturbing the mulch.
Some examples of mulches that are suitable for potted plants include:
*Decorative glass pebbles
When selecting mulch for your potted plants, always use the correct mulch for a plant. A highly alkaline mulch such as crushed limestone gravel is not suitable for plants that prefer neutral to acidic soil such as calla lilies. On the other hand, acidic mulch such as pine straw will be suitable for these types of plants.