That Will Keep Your Plants Happy.
If you’re a gardener that is not blessed with a whole bunch of space your gardening is going to be pretty much relegated to pots and containers. The good news is that containers these days are available in just about any type of material or size that you may wish to use. So which materials to use is not really the question, the question is exactly which materials will be best for your situation?
So what we will try and do here is give you a listing of the different types of containers available out there and you can take it from there and grab what you need. You will course be taking into account durability, maintainability and any concerns over bad things leaching into your soil from the pot. So let’s dive right in shall and give you a place to start?
Peat Pots – These pots of the very definition of the word temporary since they are made of compressed peat and will soften as they are exposed to rain or other moisture. These pots do though come in just about any size you would want from small seedling pots all the way up to the large ones for trees. You do also have the option of fully planting these pots when it comes time to plant whatever is in it, although I never do since I don’t trust that the pot will soften before the roots start circling the pot.
Plastic Pots – For the most part these pots and containers are very durable and will last you a number of years. Another upside is the fact that they can come in just about any color under the sun thereby giving you the opportunity to spruce up any space you may be planting. The downside though is that over the years most of these pots will be affected by the UV from the sun and start to fall apart and black pots will not only be affected by the UV they will also heat up rapidly in the summer damaging the plants roots. They are great choices are if you’re dealing with a temporary situation or partial shade or full shade.
Foam Pots – Generally you’ll see these containers in either white or off-white and can have up to 1 inch thick walls and bottom. These pots will provide you with great protection from heating up due to the sun as well as protecting your plants roots a little bit longer in the fall. They can also be brushed once a year to clean them up and then painted with a spray paint suited for adhering to plastic. Because they are foam though they can be easily damaged and this will probably be the reason that you replace them at some point in time. In my experience they are not the cheapest either.
Self-Watering Pots – You’ll recognize these pots by the water reservoir in the bottom and while being great for smaller plants and vegetables they becomes pretty unusable for larger things like bushes and trees. They are also generally made of plastic making them susceptible to the other items that shorten the life of the plastic pots mentioned above. If you’re one of those folks who that likes to travel on weekends then these pots can be invaluable for keeping your plants happy and healthy while you’re gone.
Terracotta Planter Pots – You can recognize these pots due to their dull red texture on the outside and/or inside of the pot. They can also come with the outside of the pot glazed. These containers can come in all sizes and generally range from heavy to very heavy, which makes moving them difficult at best. It is also suggested that if you live in an area that experiences a hard freeze that you only use glazed pots and that you coat the interior of the pot with pruning sealer. This will keep water from seeping into the structure of the pot thereby causing it to fracture when it freezes and the water expands.
Steel Or Other Metal Pots – These are available in many sizes, shapes and are generally very durable and colorful as well as being cost effective. The downside of these pots is that they will heat up very quickly in summer and freeze up just as quickly on a cold fall night thereby damaging roots.
Hanging Pots And Window Boxes – These pots can be plastic, wood or a wire frame that is lined with a material such as coconut fibers. They are great for displaying trailing plants such fuchsias, petunias, geraniums and numerous others. The drawback is that they will need to be watered once or maybe even twice a day during the summer so it is best to provide drip irrigation to them if you can. Grow bags can also fit into this category with the only difference being that grow bags are made from a durable sheet plastic.
There you have it a really good start in understanding planting containers and there pluses and minuses. You should now be able to match the needs of your plants to the correct pot giving happy and healthy plants.