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1 Simple Trick to Water Your Potted Plants Less Frequently

how to water plants less frequently

So you know how it gets all hot out during the summer and you feel like you’re constantly having to water your flowers or they look like they are ready to shrivel up and die? Especially the potted plants in your container gardens that dry out super fast.

Well, I have a super simple little trick to help you water those potted plants less frequently.

You won’t believe how simple this is!


river rock potted plants

Put rocks on your soil!

That’s right, those little smooth river pebbles that you can buy in bulk from just about anywhere (including Walmart and your local craft store).

The rocks prevent the sun from sucking the moisture out of the soil so quickly and help keep the soil cool.

Thus your soil will stay moist longer and you can water less frequently!

rocks in potted plants

I actually discovered this trying to reach a different goal with the rocks, which also worked by the way.

I would get annoyed when I would water my potted plants and dirt would splash everywhere from the stream of water from my watering can. So messy! Especially with the indoor potted plants. Plus it made indentions in my soil which I was not particularly fond of.

By adding the rocks, the dirt splashing and indentions were gone!

Then I realized that I wasn’t needing to water as frequently because the rocks were keeping the soil moist longer.

squirrels eating potted plants

There is also one more benefit to using these rocks in your potted plants:

It will prevent the squirrels from digging in them!

I have never had a squirrel dig in one of my potted plants that had rocks.

However, it will not stop them from eating what is in your pot (see above) if that is what they are after.

I keep a collection of these river rocks and use them in all of my small and medium-sized potted plants.

The large pots I have are typically pretty efficient at keeping themselves hydrated for several days.


Click here for 5 tricks to keep squirrels out of your plants!





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Marcy Rainey

Friday 15th of May 2020

I just read where some lady used coyote urine to deter squirrels. I have a dreadful warning about the coyote urine. It brings coyotes to your yard. I live on main Street in a small town, and after placing the urine around the trees, coyotes came to my yard. One picked up my little chihuahua and started to carry her off. Luckily after screaming at it if dropped her. A trip to the vet, I missed a day's work, and my dog got six Staples. I am very lucky that the damn thing did not puncture a major organ. Please do not use coyote urine in your yards.


Wednesday 5th of June 2019

If you use red pepper flakes, they don’t wash away as quickly as the cayenne pepper. I came home to a beautiful large orange begonia completely eaten off stem today ;( Does anyone know if it will grow back?


Tuesday 8th of October 2019

Try Coyote urine, I get mine from Fleet Farm O put it in small bottles with a sponge in half way. It drives the squirrels nuts but they stay away from my plants! Bone meal is good too along with the red pepper.


Sunday 23rd of June 2019

It should. I have a huge begonia in my back yard that dies back in the winter and comes back in the spring

Robert YOUNG

Thursday 21st of June 2018

I'm going with the pepper. Thanks.


Tuesday 20th of December 2016

Hi, you are probably going to think that I have gone nuts some where along the line. Here goes. I have close to three hundred potted plants in my backyard. (I've done this thirty years) Yes I have lost a few here and there due to elements but not to squirrels until this year 12/2016. I have nurtured these plants for years and now I have holes six inches deep in just about 99% of my pots. These are not small or medium pots they 22 to 28 inch pots. I have put mulch in the pots to help winter them. I have cayenne in the pots, Repel, Animals be gone. I am getting to desperate measures . Someone even mentioned rat poison. I have not tried the blood meal or bone meal. Because I don't really know how much to apply without putting to much would hurt my plants. The plants are hydrangeas, Camillas, Hostas, roses, Japanese Maples, viburnums. Annabelle hydrangea, ferns, hardy hibiscus, day Lily's, oriental lilys, rose of Sharon,lots of clematis, even gotten brugmansias to return each year by putting them on a morning sun side of the house, all kinds of sedums oh well the list goes on and on. I can't do the chicken wire because the plants are already in the pots and it is already winter her in zone 7a. Hate the thought of having to replant them all in the spring........ CAN ANY ONE HELP ME ??


Monday 6th of June 2022

@Shelby, The cayenne/red pepper flakes did nothing to deter those critters. Try cinnamon powder. It works for me. You'll have to reapply after it rains but worth it. Good Luck


Sunday 14th of May 2017

I have put larger rocks around the base of plants and have not had any problem with digging, now in the one bed without rocks, there is some digging going on but not in the pots with rocks to cover the soil. I would just fill in the dug out holes and make sure no air is getting to the roots of the plants and then put the rocks on. Hope this helps. Keep on gardening .

Lilette Bagwin

Sunday 15th of May 2016

What a great idea to use the Cayenne pepper for the squirrels. Of course overtime I water, I will have to replace the pepper. I am going to try the pebbles. I think they would work well with the Cayenne pepper under it. I think it would be too difficult to plant with chicken wire in my pots. If i plant the plants first and then put the chicken wire, I would have to be cutting it to fit in between the plants. Met a gapped idea for ,u big planters where I put a Spike plant in the center and 6-7 impatiens around the Spike.

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