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Compacted soil in containers


Sometimes I find the soil in my containers becomes very dry and compacted so that, when I water, the water just drains straight out. Last autumn I planted some violas in containers and now the soil is very compacted. The violas seem to be doing well, but surely they can't be getting the water and nutrients they need? Some people say that they add compost to improve their soil periodically, but how can you do that if you have plants in a container or bed taking up all the space? 

Any advice on this topic very welcome :-) 


  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,879
    First of all, dunk the container in a larger container of water and hold it under until bubbles stop coming up, to make sure it's fully moist. If you don't have a container, stand the whole thing in a tray or something and let it soak up water from below - that will take longer than dunking). Let the excess water drain out. Then you can either gently add some compost around the plants, or tip out the whole rootball and add some fresh compost at the bottom to raise the level (making sure to remove and reposition any crocks that have got engulfed by roots).
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
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