The temperatures here in Arkansas have reached record highs for June. Each day has been in the low 90 degrees farenheit, which is more typical for late July and August.
Although just two weeks ago my planters were flooded due to unrelenting rain and high winds, it is already time to consider supplemental watering for my container plants. Soil in a flower pot will dry out faster than soil in the ground partially because many flower pots are permeable.
Certain containers, such as terra cotta or wire baskets with fiber linings will dry out faster than plastic pots. Hanging baskets and plant containers in full sun will dry out faster than containers in the shade or on the ground.
One way to make sure that your flower pot soil needs water is to insert your finger up to the second knuckle into the soil. If the soil feels dry to the touch, it probably needs water.
For a more accurate test, use a soil gauge with a metal probe. The probe should be Inserted several inches into the soil at a point halfway between the pot wall and the center of the pot for an accurate reading. Water the plant when the soil moisture reading is too low for the plant type that is growing in the pot.
For a small collection of plants, a watering can will suffice. Larger planters or groupings may take a garden hose to quickly water. Or to save water, coil a soaker hose around the inner edges of each pot.
To water thoroughly, fill each pot with water until the soil will no longer soak up the water. Keep filling the pot until the water is up to the rim. Then allow the water to run out of the bottom of the pot. Repeat this process once more. The soil should be completely saturated at this point.
For plants that do not like wet leaves such as African violet, place the pot in a larger bowl of standing water and allow the plant to wick up the water.