Choosing Containers for Your Container Garden


Jordan Manufacturing Wood Planter Box with Trellis



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© 2016 Shanna Lea

Choosing the right container for a particular type of plant is critical to its success.  If you choose the wrong size pot, it could seriously stunt the growth of the plant.  You need to choose the right size of pot, but it’s almost as important to choose a container that’s made of the right material.  Different materials will work better in different situations.

If you’re planning to grow a perennial plant, like a large herb bush, you might want to choose a large wooden container.  Wood is especially attractive for use in growing plants that will continue growing for more than one season, and plants that you intend to grow outdoors in a conspicuous location.

Wooden containers are best for larger plants, and for use in highly visible areas of your yard.  Wooden pots are generally one of the most expensive types of containers. Wooden pots may be expensive, but they’re generally extremely durable.

Be sure to get one that’s treated on the outside, but not on the inside.  If you get a pot that’s treated on the inside, you might end up with dangerous chemicals being leeched into the soil and making their way into your plants.  This can damage the plants, and potentially make you sick if you eat them.

Self Watering Planter Arte 5.3" , green-gold/white

Self Watering Planter Arte 5.3″ , green-gold/white

Plastic pots are probably the most widely used type of pot for container gardening.  This is largely due to the fact that plastic pots are generally the cheapest.  But cheaper isn’t always better.

If you only plant to attempt container gardening for one year, then plastic may be a very good option for you.  But if you think you might want to have a container garden next year, you might want to stick with something a bit more durable.

You could be tempted to think certain plastic pots are durable because they’re harder or thicker than other plastic pots, but that’s not necessarily true.  If plastic is left outdoors in the elements for too long, it can start to warp and crack.  Cracked pots are of little use for anything!

DEROMA 2Q150FZ Garden Bell Pot, 5.9 Inch, Terra Cotta

DEROMA 2Q150FZ Garden Bell Pot, 5.9 Inch, Terra Cotta

Terra cotta clay pots are the second most economical type of container.  They’re pretty cheap, but they are very delicate and do break quite easily.  They also don’t stand up very well to freezing temperatures, so you shouldn’t leave them out during the winter.

Fired ceramic pots are a pretty good choice.  They can be a bit delicate, but many of them are pretty durable.  They’re usually glazed on the outside for appearance, but are left unglazed on the inside.  This is good since the glaze can damage plants if it leeches into the soil.

SIENA NOBILE Round Planter Pink 32 cm

SIENA NOBILE Round Planter Pink 32 cm

You can also make your own containers by using things you find around the house.  Most cheap plastic containers can work if they’re large enough for whatever you want to grow, as long as you cut drainage holes in the bottom.

Some good example you can try are milk jugs and soda bottles with the tops cut off and holes cut in the bottom, empty margarine tubs, trash cans with holes cut in the bottom, and large plastic tubs with drainage holes drilled.

Foxfarm FX14000 Ocean Forest Soil, Smart Naturals, 1.5 cubic feet (38.6 dry qts)

Foxfarm FX14000 Ocean Forest Soil, Smart Naturals, 1.5 cubic feet (38.6 dry qts)

Some people even use bags of soil as their containers, simply cutting a hole in the side of a bag of soil that’s lying on its side and sowing seeds directly into the exposed soil! You don’t have to use standard purchased containers.  Almost any container can be used for growing plants as long as it is safe and allows the plants adequate drainage.

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