What are Container Plants?

Sonal Panse

Container plants are plants that are grown in containers for reasons of aesthetics or lack of garden space. It is possible to use almost all types of plants for container gardening, as long as they are planted in containers fitted to their growing needs. There can be a single plant per container or several plants can be planted together in a single container. Earthen, plastic and ceramic pots, wooden crates and barrels, and wicker and wire baskets are some popular container choices, but it is possible to get creative with various other items like old buckets, jars, and so on.

Gardening tools and plants in containers.
Gardening tools and plants in containers.

When selecting plants for container gardening, it is important to have a clear idea about their eventual size and the rate of their growth. The containers should be selected in accordance with this. Small plants, for instance, wouldn't stand out in a very large pot, and larger plants will do well in wide, deep containers that allow them sufficient root space to grow in. It is generally best to avoid containers that have narrow openings or are too weighty.

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

The soil used in container planting should preferably be rich in organic matter. Such soil retains water and is low on oxygen content, keeping the roots of the container plants from spreading too rapidly. To keep the containers plants in flourishing condition, it will help to add compost or potting mixture to the soil from time to time.

Wicker baskets are popular container choices.
Wicker baskets are popular container choices.

Many gardeners, for better visual effect, like to plant three of four container plants in one pot, such as one tall plant in the center and several filler plants or trailer plants arranged around it. Selecting container plants with colorful or textured foliage can make for a very appealing container garden. Some popular container garden plants are begonias, geraniums, lobellas, marigolds, periwinkles, nasturtiums, petunias, pansies, hostas, snapdragons and zinnias. Amongst the taller plants for container gardening, canna, cyad, elephant ear, fuchsia, bougainvillea and boxwood are some common choices.

Many flowers grow well in containers.
Many flowers grow well in containers.

There are many definite advantages to container planting. One main advantage is that it makes for a very mobile garden that can be shifted around easily. By switching the places of the container plants, the look of the place can be changed or updated frequently. Container garden plants are easier to water and maintain. In the event a plant develops a disease or a pest infection, it can be easily isolated and treated without any chance of transferring the infection or pests to any of the other healthy container plants.

Elephant ears are considered decorative in the Americas, but are commonly grown as food crops in Asian countries.
Elephant ears are considered decorative in the Americas, but are commonly grown as food crops in Asian countries.

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