One of the biggest things I do in my landscaping is to make maximum use of gardening pots for container gardening. But not just any pots will do in my garden.
1: Big Displays Are Better
Let’s be honest here — bigger is better. The bigger the pot, the better the display of flowers.
The second reason bigger is better is because of the amount of water the bigger container will hold. Water stress is one of the major reasons for container garden failure. (Watch the hanging baskets in your neighborhood disappear in mid-summer because they were simply too small to keep the plants alive.)
2: Pot Material Comparison
When it comes to outstanding looks in the garden, you can’t beat the classic clay pots. Water drainage is better than plastic and the pots tend to be cooler in the summer.
These hold water better than clay so they don’t drain as well which is an advantage if you tend to ignore your plants or leave home for weekends.
But the soil also gets hotter in plastic (particularly darker colored pots) and this slows down summer growth. Plastic “looks cheap” unless you’re purchasing higher end pots that resemble clay.
A lot of folks like the use of concrete pots as they’re durable and are tough to knock over in the garden. I’ve had one of these urns and found while they didn’t blow over, they weren’t overly large-sized for growing plants given the size of the urn (in other words, the urn is large but the side walls are thick and there’s not as much room for plant roots as you might think.)
Wood containers grow a good plant and looks attractive in the garden as well. Use cedar to prolong its life. Soils in them tend to be about the same temperature as clay and cooler than plastic.
A note about soil temperatures
If you’re a beginner gardener you may not have considered the effect of soil or air temperature on the growth of plants. If you think about it, roots in the ground are protected from the sun and stay cooler than roots in a pot above ground that will be at air temperature or higher if in the sunlight.
A rule of thumb is the hotter a root gets, the poorer the plant grows. So cooler is better.
3: Best Overall Pots For Growing Are Clay Containers
Clay pots stay cool, hold moisture better than plastic and grow a very good plant.
And yes, I know they’re heavy and break but there’s still nothing nicer in the garden than old clay pots with flowers spilling over the edges.
4: Use More Pots Together For Bigger Displays
The bigger the pot or the more pots in the arrangement, the better your garden will look. (Yeah, more and bigger is better.)
So even if you’re using small pots, group them together for a bigger impact.
Most gardeners are far too timid when it comes to containers.
This is where we start to see huge plastic and fibreglass pots come to their own.
5: Use Big Hanging Baskets For A Good Garden
I absolutely hate the cheap plastic baskets commonly sold in garden centers. They overheat, are too small for a good display, and require daily or twice-daily watering if the plants are going to thrive. Small plastic pots heat up too much and stress on the plants is inevitable.
If you want a good display of hanging container plants, then use an 18-inch wire-basket with peat or coco-liner. Hint: put a layer of plastic between the coco-liner and soil to help the coco-liner last longer and reduce the water use.
6: Novelty Containers
And yes, I know there’s a place for whimsy in the garden but I confess I’ve never gone there.