Pot your Plants – Choosing a Plant Container

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 36,453
    Mitch Baker is the Horticultural Specialist breaks down how to choose a container thats going to be suitable for your garden setting.

    Mitch Baker

    Mitch Baker is the Horticultural Specialist at the American Plant Food Co. Garden Center and Nursery, in Bethesda, MD, focusing on natural gardening products and organic gardening. Mitch is a MD Certified Professional Horticulturist, with 31 years of experience in the garden center industry. He has studied at numerous horticultural institutions from New York to Oregon, and also serves on the board of the Rachel Carson Council.

    I am Mitch Baker with American Plant Food Company and today we are going to plant a container garden. Today, the choices are many, not only in plants, but in containers. So, before you choose plants to put in the container, lets choose a container thats going to be suitable for your setting. The materials today available in containers range from concrete to ceramic to the forms of composite materials. Yes, it looks like concrete, but its light weighted, its composite, its easy to move around. They could be plastic that also look terra-cotta or concrete.

    They could be wood. It could be a window box, not just a round container. So, that can be square, they can oblong, they can be an urn shape, they can be a bowl shape, anything like that. You have got shape, you have got texture, you have got material, you have got color, all of those things to consider. So, its not just a monochromatic pot. It can be a pot that brings color to the garden all by itself before you ever put any plants in it. Now, things to consider about ceramic pots: In very cold weather, they are more likely to crack, where the color finish might flake off the outside of the container. So, containers like this, if you plan on living on outside year around, it may not last too many seasons. You can bring them inside, pour the soil out and bring them inside, store them in the garage or in the basement, but for year around, containers you want to leave outside concrete, yet heavy, but its durable, it lasts; you can keep something in that year around. Wooden container, same thing, you can plant in them and leave plants in them year around. Much like these Japanese maple behind me, its in a wooden container, been in there for five or six years now, does very well in a container. You can under plant that with some other plants like perennials, so they come back each year. Plastic pots can be left out year around and, of course, the composite pots, those can also be left out year around. These kind of containers have to be drilled for drainage. They dont come with any drainage holes. So, you have to drill these containers for drainage, must have drainage. That water is got to have a way to get out of there. Dont count on a layer of gravel or careful watering; you have to be able to allow the water to drain out. So, all of these containers the water needs to be able to drain out of them. So, the choice is yours, but the first step is to choose the container, thats going to do the job for you.