Bulletin #2765, Common Problems in Container Gardens

Adapted for Maine by Associate Extension Professor Kathryn Hopkins.

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Container gardening allows you to position plants for optimum light and warmth. Inspect vegetable plants regularly to forestall any developing problems.

Symptoms Cause Corrective measures
Plants tall, spindly, and unproductive Insufficient light Move the container to a location that receives more light.
Excessive nitrogen Reduce feeding frequency.
Plants yellowing from the bottom; poor color, lack vigor Excessive water Reduce watering frequency; check for good drainage.
Low fertility Increase fertility level of the base solution.
Plants wilt although sufficient water is present Poor drainage and aeration Use soil mix containing higher percentage organic matter; increase the number of holes for drainage.
Marginal burning of leaf edges High salts Leach container with tap water at regular intervals.
Plants stunted in growth; sickly, purplish color. Low temperature Relocate container to warmer area.
Low phosphate Increase phosphate level in base solution.
Holes in leaves; leaves distorted in shape Insects Hand-pick or use insecticidal spray.
Leaves with spots, dead, dried areas, or powdery or rusty areas. Plant diseases Remove diseased areas where observed. Call your University of Maine Cooperative Extension office or bring in a leaf for diagnosis.

Adapted with permission from Dr. Sam Cotner, Vegetable Gardening in Containers, Texas Cooperative Extension, The Texas A&M University System.

VIDEO: Gardening in Limited Space Using Container Gardens, Part 1 (YouTube)

VIDEO: Gardening in Limited Space Using Container Gardens, Part 2 (YouTube)


Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2010

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