Flowerpots and Planters for Container Gardens
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Flowerpots and planters sold for container gardening come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as materials including terracotta and ceramics, plastic, wood, recycled rubber, antique cast-iron, cement, and hypertufa or faux stone planters. If you really want a unique look, try making your own faux stone planters similar to the ones you've seen at some of the garden centers.
Terracotta, cement, wooden barrels, and cast-iron planters are quite heavy so if you like the look of these planters spend some time thinking about a permanent location. Plastic, recycled rubber, wood, and faux stone are on the lighter side and easier to move if necessary. Any of these materials are suitable for container gardening. What's more important is that there are enough holes for drainage, allowing water to percolate through the soil and wash away salts that accumulate in the soil and are detrimental to the plants.
It's also important not to set the planters on a solid surface such as concrete, which might impede drainage as well. Flagstones or bluestone set in sand are fine as is a wooden deck where there is space between the deck planks. If your terrace, patio, or balcony is a solid material the problem can easily be fixed by placing one or two inch wooden blocks under the planter.
The type of plant you want to grow determines the size of the planter. Smaller plants if planted alone only need a small flowerpot. Alternatively, and often more pleasing aesthetically is to group a number of small plants together in odd numbers, say 3 or 5. The key is making sure there is adequate room for the roots to grow.
Some vegetables like radishes and lettuce along with herbs like basil, thyme, and oregano have shallow roots and only require a planter that is shallow but wide, for instance a faux stone trough. Other plants such as carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers have deeper root systems and need a planter that has depth to it such as a very large flowerpot or half-wine barrel.
Plants for Container Gardens
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