Choose decorative planters to display your favorite flowers and plants
Container gardens add a splash of color and greenery to your patio, deck or
porch and make these outside areas of your home appear warm and inviting.
Depending upon the variety of plants you choose and other factors such as
drainage and location, you have several planter materials and styles to choose
from. Each planter has distinct advantages and may be better suited to certain
applications, so familiarize yourself with some facts before you go shopping.
Knowing a few tips for the care and maintenance of container gardens is
important to keep plants healthy. Before you decide which planters will work
best, consider the following:
Buying Considerations, Care and Selection
There are several factors to consider before choosing a planter, including the size and weight of your plant and its watering needs. Different planter materials perform better, depending upon the size of the plant and how porous the planter is. You should also consider whether the planters are winter-proof or not and if you will need to move them at the end of the growing season. In addition, a few care and maintenance tips will help you keep your plants thriving and looking healthy. It's also helpful to understand the features and benefits of each type of planter material.
Buying Considerations: A good planter allows enough room for a fair amount of soil and for root growth. A good rule of thumb is to choose a planter that shows twice as much of the plant or plants as it shows of the pot. Also, check to see if the planter has drainage holes or is made of material that you can drill holes into, so excess water can drain out, which will help prevent roots from getting waterlogged. Porosity, or how porous a material is, is also important as the soil must be able to breathe so roots receive oxygen. Make sure that the planter you select can withstand harsh weather conditions if you plan to leave it outside during extreme heat or cold. Some people prefer to move planters in during cold weather. If this is true for you, make sure you can easily move the planter once it is full of soil.
Care and Maintenance: Caring for your container gardens will ensure
they continue to look attractive and safeguard your plants. Since the roots of
the plants are container-bound and cannot search out the nutrients they need,
you must provide plenty of water and frequent fertilizer or plant food.
Fertilize your planters according to the requirements of the type or types of
plants it contains. Also, use purchased soil mixes formulated specifically for
containers. Garden soil can contain diseases and drains poorly. Use fresh soil
every year to provide good aeration and to avoid the accumulation of
fertilizer salts, which inhibit healthy root growth.
Selection: Selecting a type of planter depends upon several factors.
You must choose a style and material that you find attractive and that meets
the criteria of the plants you are growing. For example, if you want to locate
a large planter outside on your deck and you plan to leave it there during
winter, choose a material that will not crack or rot. And if you are unable to
water your planters frequently, you may want to avoid terra cotta planters as
they are porous and tend to dry out quickly. Pay attention to your budget as
well -- some planters are more affordable than others.
|Unglazed clay (terra cotta)||
* You can improve drainage in most cases simply by poking or drilling holes in the bottom of the planter.
Accessories: Many planters come with optional accessories such as water saucers to protect the surface under the plant and to keep water from completely draining away. Porous saucers, like clay, will not completely protect the surface beneath them, so depending on where you place them you may want to consider plastic or ceramic saucers.
Galvanized Metal, Copper and Lead Planters: These metal containers offer an attractive and distinctive style that provides a unique accent to outdoor areas. Materials may not weather well.
Half Whiskey Barrels: Large wooden planters for large plants or a large container garden, whiskey barrels are attractive additions to a yard or deck.
Hanging Baskets: You can buy plants and flowers in plastic white or green baskets accompanied by a hook for hanging. You can also buy the basket and make the container yourself. These baskets can be heavy when filled with soil and water so make sure you have sturdy hardware in place before you hang them.
Self-Watering Planters: These planters include a reservoir for water plus a mechanism, such as a wick, to provide the plant with a sustained water supply. Self-watering planters tend to be a bit more expensive than standard planters but they reduce the frequency of watering. They are also helpful when placing plants in locations that are difficult to access.
Window Boxes: Window boxes are available in plastic or wood and come in a variety of lengths. They provide an attractive accent to your home, displaying seasonal foliage, flowers and more.
Wire and Moss Baskets: Plants grow through spaces in the moss basket, creating a nice full look. These baskets, however, are not waterproof, so use them outdoors only where water drainage is not an issue.
Before you transplant your ferns or fill your window boxes with geraniums, buy some good quality potting soil.
Give container bound plants a head start with a regular dose of fertilizer at frequent intervals during the growing season.