How do I Choose the Best Gardening Containers?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Gardening containers, some of which may be called planters, are any receptacles that are made to or used to hold growing plants, instead of planting them in the ground. Gardening containers can be large or small, made of a wide array of materials, and used indoors or outdoors. Although many containers are made specifically for the purpose of gardening, gardeners may choose or adapt other receptacles, bowls, pots, barrels, pitchers, etc. to use in their gardening adventures. Choosing the best gardening containers depends on the location and the purpose.

Gardening tools and potted plants.
Gardening tools and potted plants.

One of the considerations in choosing gardening containers is the type of plant or plants they will hold. For example, a trailing plant like ivy will drape over the edge of a container, while many plants will grow straight up, leaving the container entirely visible. Containers should be large enough to allow the plant room to grow, and allow adequate space if it will hold multiple plants. Drainage should be considered, as well as providing sufficient soil around a bulb or root ball.

A wooden barrel can make a good container for plants.
A wooden barrel can make a good container for plants.

The location for which the gardening containers are chosen will also have an influence. Hanging planters should not be too heavy, while a container that is out in the open should have enough weight that the wind won’t knock it over. Gardening containers can be suited to the décor whether indoors or outside, or provide a contrast, and they may be made of clay, ceramic, plastic, stone, lined baskets, metal, or wood, for example, wooden barrels.

When choosing a garden container, it is crucial to consider the needs of the plant.
When choosing a garden container, it is crucial to consider the needs of the plant.

Some gardening containers are designed with a very particular purpose. This is the case for specially made containers for raised bed gardening, which can provide a variety of benefits including making gardening accessible to some people who would otherwise be unable to garden. Window boxes and planters to attach to railings are also specially designed for those particular placements. Tomato hanging baskets, upside down tomato planters, strawberry jars or planters, and hydroponic planters are some of the types of specialty gardening containers.

Plantars can be made of brick.
Plantars can be made of brick.

There are some factors other than the plants themselves that may require attention to the dimensions of gardening containers. One is if the containers will be set on a narrow place, like a stair step. Another is if the containers will be arrayed on a rack or stand. Another consideration is if the plant will need to be staked, or have other support, like a tomato cage, which would require a wider diameter.

Gardening containers should allow for good soil drainage.
Gardening containers should allow for good soil drainage.
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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