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How do I Choose the Best Gardening Pots?

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  • Written By: N. Phipps
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2016
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Gardening pots are available in nearly any color, size, or style under the sun. Some are heavy, while others are lightweight. Their uses are just as numerous. With so many choices available for your garden, it’s no wonder why people feel overwhelmed. How do you know which gardening pot is the best?

When choosing a suitable container for the home garden, it’s always important to consider the size of the pot, the material in which it is made, and its specific use. For instance, larger pots such as planters, old wash tubs, and even buckets are great for growing vegetables, especially the large varieties like tomatoes, beans, and vine crops. Small to medium sized containers are ideal for growing small crops, herbs, and many types of flowering plants.

Most plants, with the exception of shrubs and trees, need at least 6 to 8-inch (15-20 cm) depths for adequate root growth. Therefore, sizes will vary depending on the plant or crop grown. Deep-rooted plants like shrubs and trees are best suited for tall gardening pots. Hanging baskets are good choices for trailing plants and vines.

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While nearly any type of container will work, drainage is another factor to consider. Without adequate drainage holes in gardening pots, the plants will ultimately rot and die. In addition to size, the type of material can be an important consideration, especially if the container plants are going to be outdoors. Their location is equally important, as areas such as rooftops and balconies may have weight restrictions. In these cases, you need something that is lightweight, yet sturdy.

Polyresin containers are suitable lightweight options. They look just like stone or concrete but are made from light material. These gardening pots are also relatively inexpensive and extremely weather resistant. They may also be prone to tipping over in windy conditions. Therefore, it often helps to line the bottoms with stones or other weighty objects prior to planting.

Plastic pots are also lightweight. They’re inexpensive as well and found in numerous colors and sizes. Plastic pots retain adequate moisture too but unless they’ve been labeled as UV (ultraviolet) protected, these gardening pots may crack and fade over time in the sun. A good way to get around this is to place them inside another sturdier container, such as metal or wood.

Since metal is prone to rust from outside elements and can get very hot, these pots are best suited for indoor environments with plastic fitted containers inside. Wooden containers, like planters and window boxes, also benefit from the addition of plastic container inserts. This helps prevent problems with rotting. Furthermore, treated wooden containers are usually not recommended as the chemicals may leech into the soil.

Ceramic gardening pots are quite popular too, but many of these are expensive and break easily. They may not withstand the outside elements well either. Therefore, these pots are better suited for indoor use. Concrete or stone pots are suitable for outdoors and work especially well with large plants like shrubs and trees. These heavier pots may be difficult to move around, however, so choosing those with rollers or wheels may be advisable.

Clay gardening pots are probably the most popular next to plastic pots. They are porous, which allows for good air flow, but dry out faster and require more watering. While they hold up to most weather conditions, clay pots are prone to cracking or breaking in cold weather. Generally, drought-tolerant plants are ideal for these types of pots.

There are numerous gardening pots to choose from. Making the best decision depends on what you’re growing and where it will be located.

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