Re-Hydrating Potted Plants

Pot in Bowl - Maureen Gilmer
Watering potted plants is easy, but getting the whole root ball wet is hard. When you let the root ball dry out it shrinks away from the inner walls of the pot. If you pour on water, it goes straight down this gap and out the drain hole. The best way to rehydrate a plant in peat based potting soils wets the entire root ball, encouraging roots to travel into the center.

You can do it on the kitchen counter by filling a shallow container with a few inches of lukewarm water. Then set the potted plant right into the water. Let it sit until the surface of the potting soil is visibly wet. It may take at least an hour, then remove it to drain in the sink before returning to its place. Do this whenever a plant (indoor or out) has become overly dry to give the peat time to rehydrate completely.

Pots in Box - Maureen Gilmer

About Maureen Gilmer

Maureen Gilmer is celebrating her 40th year in California horticulture and photojournalism as the most widely published professional in the state. She is the author of 21 books on gardening, design and the environment, is a widely published photographer, and syndicated with Tribune Content Agency. She is the weekly horticultural columnist for the Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs and contributes to Desert Magazine, specializing on arid zone plants and practices for a changing climate. She works and lives in the remote high desert for firsthand observations of native species. Her latest book is The Colorful Dry Garden published by Sasquatch Books. When not writing or photographing she is out exploring the desert on her Arabian horse. She lives in Morongo Valley with her husband Jim and two rescue pit bulls. When not writing or photographing she is usually out riding her quarter horse.

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