Container gardening: buying the best pot

Container gardening: buying the best pot

Learn how to buy the pots that best suit your plants’ needs.

By Angela McKendree

Before you can start a container garden you must stop and plan the way you’d like your garden to look. Do you want hanging baskets spilling over with lush greenery and bright petals? Do you want a rustic look, a down-home country feel or a container that will fade into the background and make your plants stars of the show? Whatever look you hope to be able to achieve, the containers you choose to hold your plants are an essential part of making that look happen.

Achieving country charm:

The perfect containers for this job should be made of wood or metal. The following list will give you an idea of what types of containers made from this material will help you achieve the country charm look and feel to your garden: wheelbarrows, tin tubs, milk churns, wicker baskets, weathered hand-made wooden boxes, old-fashioned tin lunch pails, a rusty children’s red wagon, cast iron looking pots. To protect the plants from weathered containers, first wash the inside of the containers very thoroughly. Drill holes in the bottom of the containers to provide drainage. If that isn’t an option, shatter a clay pot and place shards in the bottom of the container to provide adequate drainage. Then to protect the inside of the containers from the soil, water and plants, line the inside of the container with aluminum foil.

Making a classic Mediterranean garden:

For a beautiful European feel, you should buy containers that are made from terracotta clay. If you want a cheaper option, buy plastic pots that are terracotta colored. Plastic is often a much cheaper (and more lightweight) option, but are not always as beautiful. It’s best to find some with small ornate detailing to add a little extra bang to the plastic pot. An advantage to terracotta is that with time, the will grow moss and discolor naturally, something plastic just won’t do. You should also use several hanging baskets overgrowing with ivy and other greenery to create a lush feel. Then, for an authentic flare, buy one large and one small statue made of limestone or another natural stone that will also begin to discolor with age. A classic water fountain would also be a gorgeous touch to your Mediterranean garden.

A peaceful Asian theme:

You’ll want all of your containers to be made from very natural looking materials such as bamboo, wood and stoneware. Most nice stoneware pots are hand crafted in Asian countries and then imported here. Stoneware containers make a great addition to an Asian themed display. Stoneware containers should be accented with beautiful, natural wood boxes, clean and un-weathered (in contrast to the ones you would use in the country theme). Add an Asian water fountain and a weatherproof freestanding screen made wood or a bamboo drop down screen that acts much like a set of mini-blinds for decorative appeal to your outdoor space.

When it comes to creating a fresh theme for your container garden, just remember that the containers you use are as important as the flowers and plants you choose. The sky is the limit to what you can use; you can have a garden as unique as you are!

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