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Container Gardening Pots

Updated on April 6, 2013

Container Gardening, How To Choose the Perfect Pot

There are a lot of would be gardeners that are faced with poor soil or whose lifestyle limits their gardening. You might be confronted with a limitation do to physical ability, work, travel, space or other environmental issues that make container gardening a good alternative.

Gardeners that have large garden spaces often choose to add another dimension to their gardening by using containers.

When you choose containers for gardening you can bring your garden closer to an entry, patio or deck. You can choose to raise vegetables, herbs or flowers, just outside your door.

CONTAINER GARDENING SELECTION

It can be a bit over whelming when you enter the garden center or look at a gardening catalog and see dozens of sizes, materials and style of pots to select from. Let's explore a few guidelines for choosing the best pot and my reasons for selecting these pots.

When you enter the garden center you will most likely find a large selection of pots:

  1. terra-cotta
  2. glazed terra-cotta
  3. metal
  4. cement
  5. plastic
  6. fiberglass
  7. wood

POTS SMALL TO LARGE - PLAIN TO FANCY

Pots for container gardening will come in sizes from small (2 inches) to large (up to 4 feet square), and everything in between.

Styles will range from:

  1. classic pot
  2. urns
  3. tall vessel-like
  4. squares
  5. rounds
  6. rectangles
  7. very plain or enriched with detailed designs.

SELECTING YOUR POTS FOR THIS SEASONS PROJECTS

Finding some great pot choices for your next project

SO MANY CHOICES - WHERE TO BEGIN

First, Let's take a look at the different types of pot materials and their pro's and con's

  • Terra-cotta looks very natural and classic while it lends itself to almost any type or style landscape. Terra-Cotta is earth based and porous allowing air and water to pass through the sides of the pot, aiding with good drainage. Terra-Cotta being a natural material can break if it freezes or is dropped. Terra-Cotta pots are heavier than most other materials when filled and you will need to water your plants more often.
  • Glazed Terra-Cotta comes in a wide variety of colors as well as styles. These pots can fit almost any setting. Because of the glazing these pots would appear to hold up better do to weather changes, while being stronger. Glazed Terra-Cotta pots are still very prone to breakage and they are heavy when filled.
  • Metal Gardening Pots are great where you have very cold weather. The pots can be made from sheet metals or cast iron and depending on their size are lighter in weight making them easier to move around. The styles of most metal gardening pots blend themselves well with traditional or contemporary settings. Cast Iron is heavy and also prone to rusting unless you treat it each year with a weather resistant sealer. Another negative of metal containers is the fact they can get very hot and burn your plants. Metal containers also should not be used where children could burn themselves if they touched the hot metal.
  • Cement Gardening Pots are very weather resistant and durable. Cement pots have a very classic look, they are also very heavy. Moving a cement gardening pot even when empty is a workout. You are also very limited in color choices, usually only earth tones.
  • Plastic Gardening pots especially in the newer high grade plastics are almost impossible to tell from terra-cotta pots, while being a lot lighter in weight. These new Plastic Gardening Pots can be left outside even in cold weather. The plastic pots also retain water better than most other choices. They are almost indestructible while being easy to move from one place to another. The problem with this light weight, they are prone to blow over in heavy winds. You also need to get past the old stigma that plastic pots are cheap.
  • Synthetic Gardening Containers are made from Foam, Resin or fiberglass. Like their plastic counterparts, synthetic pots look like terra-cotta, stone or metal. Also light weight with a large variety of sizes, style, colors and decorative details. When filled with soil, these pots are still easy to move around. They hold up very well to weather extremes. The bad news is that they have a tenancy toward flaking and chipping.
  • Wood gardening containers are Rustic and natural looking. Somewhat porous, but will not dry out as quickly as terra-cotta. Over time wood will break down due to exposure and watering.
  • There are also self-watering pots. Made of lightweight polypropylene, these pots come in a variety of colors and styles. Each pot has a hidden reservoir holding from one gallon up to two-and-one-half gallons with a water-level indicator and an easy-fill funnel. They also contain an evaporation grill which moistens and aerates the soil. A whiskey barrel made of recycled plastic with an eight gallon reservoir would be perfect for a larger floral display. These self-watering pots would be perfect on a balcony or anywhere where watering by a hose is difficult. Water soluble fertilizers can be added to the reservoir for added convenience.

CONTAINER GARDENING AND THE TRAVELING GARDNER

self-watering container gardening pots. Made of lightweight polypropylene, come in a variety of colors and styles. Each pot has a hidden reservoir holding from one gallon up to two-and-one-half gallons with a water-level indicator and an easy-fill funnel. They also contain an evaporation grill which moistens and aerates the soil. A whiskey barrel made of recycled plastic with an eight gallon reservoir would be perfect for a larger floral display. These self-watering pots would be perfect on a balcony or anywhere where watering by a hose is difficult. Water soluble fertilizers can be added to the reservoir for added convenience.

Once you determine which of the above materials is right for you, choosing the size and style/color is just a matter of what you're planting and what tickles your fancy!

CONTAINER GARDENING FOR - SUCCULENTS, ANNUALS AND JAPANESE MAPLE

For a garden consisting of succulents, annuals and Japanese Maples. Use different pot materials for each of these plant types. Here are my reasons.

Unglazed terra-cotta pots are perfect for succulents and cacti because the pots dry out quickly after being watered. Since these plants don't like to be kept moist this type of pot is ideal.

Japanese maple trees, which need moist soil, are planted in various sizes of plastic, foam and terra-cotta glazed pots. These materials are just right for them since there is no evaporation through the pot walls.

Welcome to my Potting Shop - let me know what you think, any improvements or just say howdy

WELCOME TO THE POTTING SHOP VISITORS CENTER

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      windowbox 8 years ago

      Yes …..This is an important point coz if we don’t choose right pot or box for the container gardening so it can bring some prob to us like brakes and crack to the box. Any way in now days we can have PVC Window Boxesto rectified all these type of problems.

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      gardengrrrl 8 years ago

      Great tips on picking a container! Although I love terracotta, often plants in terracotta containers seem to dry up so quickly. Plastic is ugly, but retains moisture so much better.

    • Nara White Owl profile image

      Nara White Owl 9 years ago

      Thanks for this lens,I like to do potting this lens has showed me things I'm not looking at.