Many gardeners, especially those with small lawns or room for a traditional garden, want to use containers. Let’s look at what makes a good container for planting, and what materials are used in container gardens.
What Makes a Good Container Garden Planter?
A garden planter can be made from almost any type of container but the best often have these traits in common:
Drainage: Good drainage is necessary for most garden containers to prevent root rot and other diseases. Plants will actually drown if the container doesn’t allow suitable drainage of excess water. If necessary, cut holes in the bottom of the container to increase the drainage.
Portability: One of the best features of a container garden is the ability to move containers as needed to create new effects, fill gaps or change with the seasons. Therefore the best containers should be portable and light enough to be able to easily move.
Size: Gardeners should choose a container that will fit the desired space, but still provide the most possible room for the plant roots to grow. Keep the size of the container, and the size of the plants in good balance.
Common Materials of Garden Containers and Planters
Terra-cotta Containers: One of the most common and traditional garden container materials is terra-cotta. While the containers are heavier than modern materials and dry out through evaporation more quickly, the old-world charm is highly appealing.
Plastic, Resin or Fiberglass Containers: Highly variable, plastic-type garden containers are available in a huge array of colors, sizes and designs. Much lighter than terra-cotta, they are also generally less expensive. Some cheaper plastics will become brittle in the heat and sun and break down but better quality planters are very durable.
Wood Containers: Wood garden planters have an easy look that blends in nicely with the garden landscape and is popular for container gardens. They are moderate in weight and durable in heat or cold, but can rot in lots of water.
Metal Containers: Metal containers are popular for adding whimsy and charm to a garden. Metal planters are durable, inexpensive and light to move when necessary.
The great thing about gardening in containers is the wide variety of items that can hold a plant. Gardeners have made containers out of many things – cast-off boots, old TVs, wheelbarrows, vases, baskets, and more. As long as they will hold soil and plants, and can be watered easily enough, you can make a garden container out of it!
When selecting a container to add plants, keep in the mind the pros and cons of the various container materials. Remember to make sure your garden planter choices meet all the principles discussed above and you won’t have to be afraid of your creativity in the garden.