Container gardening has exploded over the years as chic garden design evolved to include artfully arranged containers of plants.
There are many reasons for container gardening and it is not always due to lack of outdoor space. The sun’s angle changes throughout the seasons and potted plants are simply easier to move around to optimize exposure to the sun’s rays.
Almost anything can be recycled into a container, even milk cans. Any gardener can vary up the colors, shapes, materials and sizes of containers into a blend that contrasts the plants and brings out the inner landscape architect.
Self-watering pots have become very popular as they reduce the burden of daily watering. They work wonders when one goes away on short trips. All you need to do is water the plant from the top thoroughly and let excess water come out of the drainage hole before you leave. Over time, if the plant requires more water, it can draw from the bottom of the pot.
For the forgetful gardener, this system gives you a couple of days of mercy. But beware—these pots are not for all kinds of plants. Succulents and cacti prefer drier soil and will rot in these planters unless sand is mixed into the potting soil. However, food-producing plants would flourish.
Another downside is that when the weather turns wet and cold, water tends to stagnate as it does not evaporate as much. This becomes a magnet for mosquitoes and other insects. Emptying the reservoir every couple of days will help prevent this.
To avoid root rot for succulents and cacti, terracotta planters are great for these plants because the walls of the pot absorb the soil’s moisture. The earth tones of clay pots bring a vintage look to your garden, which can be very refreshing when placed strategically.
Plants should be regularly watered as soil tends to dry out faster in terracotta. Completely dried out potting soil will not absorb moisture if water is just poured from the top. It will immediately drain away from the drainage hole. Keep a saucer underneath filled with water and it will wick the moisture more slowly.
Due to its porous nature, terracotta is notorious for breaking when temperatures fluctuate. So be ready to replace the pots as needed.
As spring blooms, gorgeous ceramic pots can be used to decorate patios with colorful combinations to bring added cheer to the garden. For a décor-conscious person, ceramic planters are a trendy accessory.
Ceramic pots are not simply terracotta pots with paint. They are a level up, because they preserve moisture better and are harder to break. These vessels are quite solid and prevent bulky plants from tipping. They are great for tropical plants, but not good for succulents since they trap moisture.
Plastic planters present the most economical option in the garden.
Seed-starter pots are small and provide the right size for holding the correct amount of moisture to germinate seeds. As the seedlings grow, so do the size of pots until they are transferred to their permanent location. Seedlings require protection and should be placed on higher ground away from hungry garden critters.
Best of all, plastic planters are difficult to break and can be recycled safely. But do not permanently grow food in plastic pots, because plastic can leech chemicals into the soil.
The natural rot-resistant capabilities of cedar wood make it a great choice for vegetable beds. Even though newer, healthier ways of pressure-treating wood have been developed, most people still prefer wood that was not pressure-treated to avoid leeching chemicals into a food garden. Cedar can last for at least a decade, and withstands harsh weather year round. The biggest risk is potential damage by wood boring pests.
Whatever kind of planter you choose, having right soil with the right amount of water is essential for increasing the lifespan of your plants. Containers provide the added benefits of sheltering sensitive plants from harsh weather, hiding plants away from curious animals and children, and adding a bit more flair to your landscape.