There are so many containers for growing plants. If it will hold a little bit of dirt, someone has probably used it as a pot for growing plants.
When choosing a container for your garden,
consider the depth of your container.
Deep-rooted plants need tall pots to grow,
but small pots work well for shallow-rooted plants.
Ensure the pot has adequate drainage,
or add some holes to the bottom yourself.
Popular Gardening Containers
You’ll see all of these containers with thriving, healthy plants.
1 - Clay: Terra cotta is attractive, inexpensive, and used by almost everyone. These pots are porous, which allows air to pass through to the roots of plants, but your plants may need to be watered more often. Clay pots work well for drought-tolerant plants. These pots break easily, but they also can be replaced cheaply.
2 - Glazed ceramic: Ceramic plant pots are quite beautiful. They are typically smaller and are especially good for houseplants. They hold moisture in the soil well. These pots are often fragile and will crack with temperature changes. Reserve these special containers for indoor gardening or a sheltered spot.
3 - Concrete or stone: Super durable and heavy, these options are well-suited as permanent fixtures. They are excellent for keeping plants secure in windy areas. They may be too heavy for balcony or rooftop gardens, especially once filled with soil. These containers require a lot of watering.
4 - Hypertufa: This is a mix of materials with Portland cement as a base. This molded material looks like rock or concrete, but it’s light and porous. Hypertufa can be a fun medium for creating unique containers.
5 - Plastic or resin: Lightweight and weather-resistant, these pots are often made in styles to look like glazed pots, terra cotta, or other materials. These pots retain water well and can withstand temperature changes. They can also tip over easily in windy spots.
6 - Lined hanging baskets: These are usually coco fiber or sphagnum moss lining a metal-framed base. These containers are attractive displays for trailing flowers and decorative vines. They can be lined with plastic to prevent the soil from drying out and need to be replaced periodically as the fiber breaks down.
7 - Metal: Galvanized containers are common choices for raised beds. Metal containers can be lightweight and portable (sheet metal), or they can be heavy and permanent (cast iron). They won’t break down with temperature changes, but rust can be an issue. Metal can heat up quickly in the heat of summer, drying the soil and damaging roots. Lining the container can help insulate the roots.
8 - Wood: Wooden barrels and window boxes are good choices for their attractive looks and temperature resistance. Wood will rot over time, so be prepared to recoat the finish on these containers or replace them periodically.
9 - Grow bags & fabric pots: These are cropping up everywhere because they are inexpensive and easy to store in the off-season. Look for a breathable fabric with a blend of fibers made to hold up to water and weather. Plants often thrive in these containers, thanks to the airflow around the roots.
10 - Repurposed containers: Do-It-Yourselfers have made creative container gardens out of repurposed egg cartons, wooden crates, milk jugs, old pots or cans, broken crockery, boots, and more. Your imagination is the limit. Just consider your materials and make sure there’s good drainage.
One last note: use food-safe materials for anything you intend to eat. If your chosen container isn’t food safe, a liner or container within a container works well. You could hide a food-safe plastic pot inside a stack of repurposed tires, for example. The tire will add stability and visual interest, while the pot protects your plants from toxic chemicals.
Mixing and matching your containers allows you an extra dimension of creativity as a gardener. Use whatever works for you, and don’t be afraid to change it up and try new things!
Written by Teresa Chandler
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