Watering: Pots tend to dry out quickly, particularly small pots and clay pots. Water your plants until liquid runs out of the bottom of the pot to prevent salt build-up in your soil. To facilitate draining, place the pot on small legs or in a shallow dish filled with gravel. Allow the soil to dry before watering again (but not so much that the plant can't recover!) Roots need air, so a water-logged plant will die just as quickly as a dehydrated plant. Too much water also encourages the growth of mildews and molds.
In the summer, you will have to water often. In order to help your plants survive the summer, elevate them off of a hot patio and cluster them so that they can shade each other with their foliage. Mulch the top of the soil with wood chips or pebbles to decrease evaporation and keep the soil cooler. Clay pots placed in full sun can get very HOT and bake your plants' roots. Wrap the exterior with burlap, or "double pot" them to create airflow between the two pots.
Fertilizing: Commercial potting soils generally have enough nutrients to last a couple of months. Following this initial period, add water soluble fertilizer according to the package instructions (I prefer to fertilize twice as often at half the recommended strength.) Do not over fertilize as plants can be "burned" by too much nitrogen. For optimum performance, refresh your pots annually with fresh compost or other organic material. Note that fertilizers list the big three nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) in the order N-P-K on their packaging (such as 15-11-8.) Flowering plants need phosphorus to bloom, so choose a fertilizer with a high 2nd number. Use a balanced blend for green plants and shrubs , such as 20-20-20. Acid loving plants will appreciate the addition of soil sulphur (coffee grounds are acidic, too.) Cactus and succulents only need to be fertilized once or twice each year, while they are growing.
Light: Choose the right plant for the amount of sunlight that your pot will receive. Some plants grow well in shady areas. Others, such as vegetables, require 6-8 hours daily of direct sunlight. Plants that require full sunlight in temperate areas may appreciate some afternoon shade in the summer. If your plant is too shaded, it may yellow or become "leggy" as it stretches to reach the sun. Sunburned plants turn yellow or brown. Move them, as necessary.
Salt damage: Phoenix water is high in salts, and container plants are particularly vulnerable to salt damage. Water deeply to prevent salt build-up in your pots. If you notice leaves with brown edges or tips, this is a sign of salt damage. Flush the pot well to wash salts away from the roots and out of the pot.
Care: Keep an eye out for insects, particularly on vegetables. Remove them manually or chemically, if necessary. A solution of 3 tsp of Ivory dish soap to 1 gallon of water will deter many pests. Trim off dead or diseased plant material. "Dead head" flowers to encourage more blooms. Prune http://www.thetutuguru.com.au/shop/ growing plants or move them to a bigger pot, if necessary. Refresh your pots annually with new soil and mulch, washing them with a 5% bleach solution between plantings.