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How to Grow Plants in Pots | Pot Gardening Tips

Updated on January 2, 2013
Potted plants
Potted plants | Source
Ceramic and terra cotta pots
Ceramic and terra cotta pots
plastic pots
plastic pots
Galvanized pots
Galvanized pots
Herbs in Galvanized pots
Herbs in Galvanized pots | Source
Make holes with hammer and nail for better drainage
Make holes with hammer and nail for better drainage
Hanging pots of coconut shells
Hanging pots of coconut shells

Container or pot gardening can be a fulfilled dream to a greener home. Growing plants in pots provide flexibility to arrange the flowers and plants in different design at your balcony, porch or windowsill. When you don’t have a compound or garden to work with, pot gardening is the ideal solution to a green home.

What tools should I buy ?

For a start, you need to have the right tools. Get a trowel, soil scoop, watering can or a hose and a pair of garden scissors. If you don’t want to dirty or roughen your hands, get a pair of gloves. If you want to minimize exposure to sunlight, get a straw hat. And last but not least, buy suitable pots.

How to choose a pot ?

The pots available in the market are either made of ceramic or plastic. The type of plant will determine the size of the pot should be used. Deep-rooted plants require deeper pots as shallow pots restrict the grow of roots and dries them out quickly. For a guide, not a rule, the width of the pot should be one third to half the height of the full grown plant.

1) Ceramic and terra cotta pots

Made of clay, these pots are durable and heavy. They are most suitable for gardening in the open or outdoor. The heavier weight of this pot when compared to a plastic pot makes it steadier and will not topple over easily when strong wind blows against it. Clay is porous, so water will tend to evaporate from the sides. Over time, moss will eventually grow on the moist surface. Maintenance work to scrub out the moss is inevitable.

A better option for ceramic pot is the glazed ceramic or terra cotta pots. Glazed pots are waterproof and insulated, hence more sustainable against crack and last longer. The well protected roots will grow better. Since water does not evaporate from the sides easily, watering the plants can be less frequent and moss does not grow so easily. These minimum maintenance pots are good for working executives or a busy person who often have no time to take care of the garden, and yet desire a greener home.

2) Plastic pots

Nowadays, plastic pots come in different colour, sizes, shapes and styles. There are quite hardy, and can be used indoor and outdoor, though the pots will last longer in shaded outdoor garden. They are good in conserving moisture and light, hence easier to handle.

3) Galvanized pots

Galvanized pots are made from treated metal to prevent rust. Since they are light and absorb heat easily, they are more suitable for plant grown in the shade or indoor. These pots are usually made to look like a pail, tub or window box. Depending on the design, these unique pots give refreshing outlook and normally capture the interest of cottage garden or a modern urban garden designer. Often than not, these pots do not usually come with drainage holes to function properly as a garden pot. The solution to this problem is as easy as describe below.

How to nail holes on galvanized pots ?

a) Turn the pot upside down

b) Place the pot on a few pieces of clothes or newspapers to keep it in place and reduce vibration (this ensure the nailing process will not distort the shape of the pot)

c) Use a hammer, knock a nail onto the bottom of the pot

d) Repeat this a few times to make more holes

Other types of pots

Pots can also be made of wire to form various design of a wire basket, such as hanging pots. Foam, fibreglass and coconut shells are also great for flower pots. In fact, any household items that can hold soil can be recycled to become garden pots. Some may not last long, such as wooden box and easily-rusty metal container, but if re-designing your garden is part of your interest, temporary pots are refreshing and creative.


hanging plants
hanging plants | Source


Too much water will rot the root and eventually kill the plant. The signs of plants affected by too much water are very similar to plants that have too little water, which are :

· Lower leaves are yellow

· Plant looks wilted

· Roots will be rotting or stunted

· No new growth

· Young leaves will turn brown

· Soil will appear green (algae growth)

Therefore, when you buy a pot, ensure that the pots have holes at the bottom for water to drain away freely. If the pot does not come with drainage holes, drill a few. To ensure water drains off quickly, ensure there is a gap between ground and pot. You can place pot on a plant stand, bricks or gravel to elevate the pot off the ground.


Not only has the soil needed to be well drained, it must also be able to stay evenly moist in the pot. A good mixture of soil will help to meet this purpose. You can buy any commercial potting soil from gardening shop. To prepare a good quality soil for your plant, mix equal part of regular garden soil or compost, sand and peat moss or other organic materials like bark. Some plants will require different ratio. Add slow-release fertiliser or compost to the soil.

When you fill the pot with soil, don’t fill up the pot completely; leave a few centimetres of space between the soil level and top of the pot. This will prevent the water or soil from spilling out of the pot during watering the plant.

Optionally, mulch potted plant about 1cm or more by placing gravels or other mulching materials on the top of soil will help to trap moisture or water in the soil. Mulching is decorative as well.



Frequent watering plants in pots tend to wash out the fertiliser. Depending on the soil mixture, the lighter the soil mixture, the more frequently fertilisation of the plant is required. Generally, apply slow release fertiliser or soluble fertiliser every two weeks, following instructions given on the label. Remember to water the plant frequently to prevent over-fertilizing the plants.

If the plants in pot are placed in the open and under the sun, plant needs to be watered daily. Needless to say, if it rains heavily, watering is not necessary.

To check whether the plant requires watering, press your fingers into the soil. If the surface feels dry, then water the plant.

More Pot gardening tips

If you feel that the plant requiring plenty of sunlight is not getting enough sunlight, move the plant to a better position.

Line the bottom of pot with newspapers to prevent soil from spilling out of the pot.

Nature at Home

Pot gardening has become a popular home gardening trend. Almost all plants can be grown in pots. Just choose plants that you would like to grow, taking into consideration the foliage shape, colour and size. It is great to experience the nature right at home!

Cute Garden Ornaments
Cute Garden Ornaments | Source


The text and all images on this page, unless otherwise indicated, are owned by Ingenira who hereby asserts her copyright on the material. Permission must be granted by the author in writing prior to copy or republish this article in print or online. However, please feel free to copy the first paragraph with a link back to this page. Thank you.

© Ingenira


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I like this post, enjoyed this one regards for putting up. The goal of revival is conformity to the image of Christ, not imitation of animals. by Richard F. Lovelace. fedgbdfbdkda

    • Ingenira profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      ListLady, I can imagine the lovely garden of your daughter-in-law, and the naughty squirrels wandering around. I have a small little garden in my front yard too, and it was lovely to see a squirrel stop by sometimes looking for food.

      Thanks fore reading, glad you like it. :) I enjoy looking out my window to see a nice garden too.

    • TheListLady profile image


      9 years ago from New York City

      This is just beautiful to look at and a great use of space. My lovely Daughter-in-Law incorporated such pots in her garden and we got tons of herbs and then the flowers - just beautiful. Of course with the flowers that were bulbs - the squirrels happily dug them up. Sometimes you'd look out the window and just see a squirrel's tail sticking out of the pot. Well, they have to eat too.

      Lovely hub and rated up. A pleasure to look at. And nice tips. Yay!

    • Ingenira profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Appreciate your comment, wordscribe43. I want to read more of your excellent hubs again... here I come.

    • wordscribe43 profile image

      Elsie Nelson 

      9 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Fantastic hub you have here. I soooo wish I had a green thumb, but alas I do not. You have some excellent advice and tips here. I have some cool galvanized pots I need to drill holes in, never even considered that option. Anyway, (green) thumbs UP!

    • Ingenira profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Thanks, Betty. :)

    • Betty Johansen profile image

      Betty Johansen 

      9 years ago

      Beautiful! What a great idea to use temporary pots to liven up the scene! We can scatter flowers and/or greenery around just about anywhere we want to. Great information and suggestions! Thank you.


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