Plant Containers, Pots & Planters: The Essential Guide For Gardeners


Plant containers in gardening are small, enclosed and usually the objects in which you can grow plants by placing them on roof tops, balcony, at windows, and within doors.

Plant Containers may exists in the form of pots, hanging pots, containers, baskets, barrels, rectangular boxes.

Selecting the best size and shape of the plant containers depends upon space availability and perception for your garden.

Plant containers are compact and easy to move. Thereby, garden can be arranged in neat, attractive and proper order.

Plant containers are ideal for growing flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruits.

In breezy areas, containers are attached to floor or walls. So, choose squat containers rather than tall containers since they are less likely to be blown up by wind.

There are 3 factors that should be considered before selecting containers. They are:

Size of Plant Container

The size of plant container depends upon the plants that you intend to grow. Larger plants require larger container to have an ample room space for roots to grow.

Depth of Plant Container

Plants with extensive root system needs both larger and deeper containers.

Drainage for Plant Container

Lack of proper drainage system may result in death of plants.

The most important steps you should consider in selecting container is
that they should hold water.

Different types of Pots for Plants

Clay Pots for Plants

Clay pots are versatile and nice looking. But cracks are observed in extreme conditions of temperature.

Metal Plant Pots

Metal containers are available in different styles and sizes. They are visually appealing and are also used for decorative purposes.

They are durable and will have beautiful rustic look when it corrodes.

Metal plant pots conducts heat and may kill the plant roots and useful bacteria. Therefore it’s better to avoid them.

Concrete Pots for Plants

  • Concrete pots are water resistant and durable.
  • These exists in larger sizes and are best suited for growing large plants.
  • Since the bottom part of concrete pots is heavy they are ideal for windy area.

Containers filled with soil are more heavier than empty containers. So when you are placing containers on rooftops, check whether your roof can withstand the weight or not.

It provides insulation for temperature fluctuations.

Water in concrete pots dries out quickly.

Sometimes it may contain traces of lime which can harm to your plants.

Containers made with both polymers and concrete performs the same job as concrete and will not be much heavy.

Plastic Pots For Plants

Using plastic containers is good choice. They are affordable, durable, light weight, and holds the moisture.

To maintain proper drainage system drain holes should be drilled under container.

Due to direct interaction with sunlight plastic container properties may change and quality may get degraded. So, replace the plastic container for every 2-3 years.

These are not environmental friendly and have recycling concerns.

Recycled Pots For Plants

You can reuse teacups, pots, sink, bath tub, bucket, mug, bottle etc as a container.

Drill the holes at the bottom of the container for draining excess water. Carelessness in drilling may leads to cracks on object.

If you are concerned about the harmful microbes on reused containers that might spread in your garden and effects the plant growth ,then clean those containers with bleach water.

Wooden Pots For Plants

Wooden container is a great choice for permanent container gardening. These containers insulates the roots from sun.

These are durable and withstands the cold weather conditions.

Containers made of wood should be rot resistant i.e., they should compulsorily coated with non toxic rot resistant sprays. If you are still anxious, then place a plastic try into a wooden container.

Containers made with wood, plastic, concrete are best choices for outdoor gardening.

Grow Bags:

  • Grow bags are light in weight and are easy to move.
  • It lasts upto 3 years and consists of good drainage facility.
  • You can grow a wide variety of plants in these grow bags.
  • In grow bags you will observe only a limited range of colors and styles.
  • Grow bags are not aesthetically pleasing.

Stone Containers:

They are durable and are most attractive. These are breakable, hard to move and it is very difficult to add drainage holes.

Hanging Pots:

They are inexpensive and are mostly used in unused spaces. It helps to grow wide variety of plants and are available in different colors and styles.

Place hanging pots properly for the purpose of maintenance and watering.

During heavy rains, logging of water takes place in hanging pots.

Different Types Of Planters

Recycled Planters

Recycled planters are specifically designed for vertical gardens and can be used as liners for other containers.

They are made from a recycled material which is porous. Even though, recyclable planters are porous they don’t allow much moisture to pass through the wall.

It consists of metal grommets in it’s back that helps in attaching to walls.

They can hold 6-8 kilograms of soil which is sufficient to grow small plants as well as green leafy vegetables.

Tray Planter

These are designed for plants which are having shallow roots. Most people use it for lettuce growth.

These are plastic trays with holes in the bottom and are separated into small planting cells. They don’t have width as expected and look similar to pallets.

To get best results regarding design mount an additional frame on the tray.

Pot Hangers

These planters are made of terracotta or polypropylene. Pot hangers are designed in such a way that they can be suspended with over head support and vertical support.

Pot hangers may have flat back. So that, they can be easily get sticked to the back wall.

They can withstand the bad weather.

Pot hangers are visually appealing when decorative plants are grown in it. Flat back pot hangers are available in wider varieties. Which helps in design aspect of garden.

Prevent the use of polypropylene black pots, as they absorb and transmits heat to the roots, which leads to the death of roots.

Terracotta Pots

Terracotta pots have a good drainage and retains heat. In extreme conditions of temperature cracks are observed on terracotta pots.

They are porous. So, a lot of moisture may escapes from the soil.

Planters With Found Objects

Found Objects are the objects which you have considered as a recycled container.

Based on the found objects select the plants to be grown in it. Clean the found objects with bleach water. Its better to keep a plastic pot or tray or any water proof membrane inside the found objects as the liner.

Liner helps in prevention of moisture escape.

Clean the found objects. If you think of coating the found object then use only non toxic coatings.

Bath tubs, bags are good examples of found object planters You should have proper draining system. drill the holes without damaging the found object.

Styrofoam Plant Pots

Styrofoam containers are used for urban gardening. it is durable and can withstand the weather fluctuations.


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