If you’ve recently checked on your garden only to find your potted plants knocked over in the wind, then this article is for you. Planting in pots is a simple way of growing veggies and flowers, but it has a flaw. Potted plants are vulnerable to falling over in windy weather.
Believe me, I’ve seen it countless times – walking out in the morning to something like this:
But eventually, I’d had enough! So, in this article I’ll share 7 easy methods for how to stop plant pots from falling over in the wind. After you learn these simple tips, you can go on enjoying the benefits of growing in containers.
1. Use Heavier Pots
Chances are, your potted plants are being grown in lightweight containers. These days, most of the cheapest pots are made of either plastic or non-woven fabric (grow bags).
While these are great for usability, they increase the chances of your plants toppling over in the wind. This is especially true for fruiting plants that become top-heavy in the summer.
So, what is the easiest fix? Upgrade your pots to clay (terra cotta), ceramic, or stone. Not only will this vasty reduce the chances of the pots falling over, but the pots will last longer, too.
To top it off, some of the most beautiful and elegant containers are made of heavier materials. The up front cost will pay off in the long run, and the pots will serve as an attractive focal point for your garden.
Alternative: Place A Heavy Object In The Bottom
If you’re not in the market for upgrading your pots, a cheap alternative is to place a heavy object in the bottom of your lightweight pots. Simply put a brick or large stone in the bottom of your pot before filling it with potting soil.
2. Place Pots Closer Together
Another way to prevent plants from falling over in the wind is to space potted plants closer together. In the event of stormy weather, the plants will help support each other.
The only drawback is that the outer-most plants may still be vulnerable to winds, as they won’t have as much support. Choose the most stable pots to place around the perimeter of each cluster of containers.
Now, this method requires you to have multiple potted plants. If you’ve just got one plant, you can use something heavy to support the pot from the outside. Once again, bricks or stones will work well, placed around the base of the pot on all sides.
3. Add Sand To Potting Soil
Most potting soil is primarily made up of peat moss or coco coir. These materials are lightweight, especially when they are dried out. The combination of hot summer weather and thirsty plants leads to plants knocking over frequently.
One solution is to add a heavy material to your soil. Sand is a great way to improve drainage while adding weight to your soil medium. I would only recommend to add up to 10% sand by volume, but this will greatly increase the overall density of your potting mix.
Note: Sand will not hold moisture or nutrients, so it doesn’t do much for your plants. The only benefits are to improve drainage and to help weigh down light pots.
The drawback is that your plants will become more laborious to move around. So, be sure to situate them in a spot that is permanent!
4. Use Plant Stakes
We grow lots of peppers and tomatoes. Without staking, these plants would be doomed to topple over, even without strong wind! Thankfully, a sturdy, central stake is enough to support the plants all season.
Staking also helps protect potted plants from falling over. Without a supporting stake, the plants will tend to sway in the wind, leading to more frequent tipping.
I recommend staking plants early in the season using 3-4′ bamboo stakes. These rigid, thin shoots provide a stable support to connect your plants to using something like garden Velcro or tomato clips.
5. Use Wider Pots or Grow Bags
Most containers are tapered to allow for easy stacking and storing. While this is great for saving space in the off season, it makes for a less stable design when the pots are in use.
Thankfully, there are many containers that have a wider footprint. For a cheap option, I recommend these 7 gallon grow bags. They are a great size for a variety of plants, and rarely fall over thanks to a large surface area.
Many large, stone pots will have a wider base as well. These are doubly effective, as they are both heavier and have more ground coverage.
6. Prune Top-Heavy Plants
If you are dealing with frequently falling pots mid-season, then a simple option is to prune your plants. Most plants tolerate some pruning well, and will simply respond by growing foliage lower on the plant.
For fruiting plants, you should avoid pruning the flowering portion of the plants, as these will eventually become the fruits. Instead, try pruning away some of the excessive foliage. This will “thin out” the plant and prevent it from acting like a sail in the wind.
7. Provide Wind Dampening
For a more permanent solution to plant pots falling over, you can build (or grow) a wall to dampen the wind. In most places, the wind will typically come from one direction. In other words, your garden might get a westward wind.
With this knowledge, you can build a fence on the east side of your garden to help protect your pots. Hedges are a natural method of achieving the same goal of a fence, but they will take time to grow and prune to a suitable size.
If you grow vegetables in pots, fencing in your plants will provide protection from hungry animals, too. While this may not be the most cost effective method of preventing potted plants from being knocked over, it is more long-term.
I hope these tips help you stop your plant pots from falling over in gusty winds. There is nothing worse than having your peppers or tomatoes tip over and drop un-ripened fruits. Hopefully today marks the end of this problem in your garden!