It’s an amazing dream.
Having your own garden where you grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
But a garden needs a lot of space, doesn’t it?
And all you have is some space in your balcony or patio. Does this mean you can’t grow your favorite plants?
Of course not.
Because container gardening is the answer to your problem.
It helps you grow plants in containers that you keep on your balcony or patio.
But there’s one important thing to consider before you begin planting in containers.
And that is to choose the best pot you can use for your plants.
Ask yourself these questions before you choose the pots for your container garden.
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What are the plants you want to grow?
Different plants come in different sizes so choose the pots based on this idea.
If you wish to grow edible plants for fruits and vegetables, you need to choose the plants first and then the pots that they will fit in.
But if you wish to make your garden look pretty with flowering plants, you can choose the pots first and then the plants based on how they fit the pots.
The diameter and depth of the pot are important for growing the right plant in them. The diameter is the measurement across the top of the pot while the depth is a measurement of how deep the pot is.
Type of plants
Leafy greens don’t have deep roots, so you can grow them in containers that are 3-4 inches deep. Some like spinach and Asian greens might need a little more depth like 6-8 inches.
Fruiting plants like tomatoes, squash, peppers, and chilies can grow tall and have deep roots. So you’ll need a pot that is about 7-15 gallons in size.
If the plants are large like winter squash and cantaloupe, you’ll need pots that are 18-24 inches deep.
What is the material you want for the pot?
The pots can come in a variety of materials to choose from and each has its pros and cons.
One of the popular pot materials that gardeners like are the terracotta ones.
These pots are made from clay, look good, and are reasonably priced. If you buy large and ornate ones, they can get a bit expensive.
The Terracotta pots are porous so water seeps out through the pores and evaporates. This keeps the pot cool but also means that you need to water the plants often.
These pots are quite fragile and break if you drop them. They also don’t enjoy cold weather and will crack. So it’s advisable to use them for indoor gardening.
The Terracotta pots can also get quite heavy when you add the potting soil and plants in them.
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Plastic pots are very durable, lightweight, and inexpensive. You should be able to get them at your local garden center.
They do look a bit cheap compared to the other types of materials available but they get the job done.
They are very durable and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Though intense sunlight can damage them when outdoors.
If the color of these plastic pots is black, they will absorb a lot of heat. So make sure not to use them unless you’re growing plants in cold weather.
They don’t have the problem of losing water like the Terracotta pot. But the area between the soil and the sides of the pot can get dry.
Wood is one of the best material you can use for pots in your container garden. These pots are organic, beautiful, and inexpensive.
Typical wood does break down over time so it’s good to buy pots made from cedar or redwood that are very durable.
You can get half barrels of wine or whiskey from your garden center. They are inexpensive and have a large size to grow many plants in them.
You can paint them from the outside to make them attractive and durable. But make sure there is no paint on the inside as it can leach into the soil and into your plants.
These wood pots can become quite heavy with the potting soil and plants. So it’s best to use them for your outdoor container garden where you won’t have the need to move them around.
Ceramic is another material popular with gardeners for container gardening.
You can get beautiful pots made of ceramic but they can be a bit expensive.
They also have the same problem as Terracotta pots where the water can seep out of the pores. So you need to water the plants often.
You can avoid this problem if you use glazed ceramic pots that don’t have the pores.
The ceramic pots are quite durable unless you drop them. You can use them indoors or outdoors but do understand that they can get quite heavy based on how large they are.
The most durable pots you can get for your container garden are made from concrete.
They can be quite heavy and it’s best to your them in your outdoor container garden where you don’t need to move them.
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Another popular option for your container garden is polypropylene bags.
They are inexpensive, durable, and very lightweight.
You can place your potting soil in these bags and they are porous so that the excess water seeps out and does not drown the roots of the plants.
Once you’re done with the plants in these bags, you can just fold and store them away.
You don’t need to buy pots if you already have some containers lying around in your house.
This could be something as simple as pots, cans, bins, and buckets made from clay, ceramic, plastic, or metal.
Just make sure to make plenty of holes in the bottom so the water can move out through them. Also, make sure there is no toxic paint inside the container before you use them.
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What is the watering need for your container garden?
One disadvantage of having a container garden is the roots of plants only have a limited area they can spread over. So the roots are limited in the amount of water they can extract from the soil.
You need to water the plants in your container garden more often than you would in a traditional garden.
A traditional pot used for container gardening comes with a hole at the bottom.
You water the pot from the top and the water moves through the soil to the bottom. The roots take in the water they need while the excess water drains out from the bottom of the container.
There is no storage of water which means the roots can dry out if you don’t water such pots periodically.
A self-watering pot is useful for gardeners who tend to forget watering their plants.
Such a pot has two compartments separated from each other. One is for the soil and plant while the other is for a reservoir.
You can fill water in the reservoir and it will slowly reach the soil through a wick. This means your plants can automatically get the water as long as the reservoir contains some.
You can get pots in a variety of fancy shapes. But it’s important to know how the shape can affect the watering needs of the plant.
A pot that has a tapered shape will dry out faster at the top while retaining moisture at the bottom.
It’s always good to go for a pot that is square, rectangular or circular in shape as it has the best capacity to retain water evenly throughout the pot.
We know that using material like plastic can heat up the pot especially if the color of the plastic is black.
And the hotter your pot gets, the more water it will lose due to evaporation. And that means more work for you to keep watering the plants.
So it’s best to choose a material and color that can help the pot retain most of the moisture for a decent amount of time.
Now you know how to choose the best pot for your container garden.
It does not have to be fancy. It does not have to be expensive. And it does not have to be some super material.
Choosing the right pot can help you grow your favorite plants in the limited space that you have.
So don’t hesitate.
Start your container garden and make your gardening dreams a reality.
Kevin Rodrigues is a developer-turned-blogger that helps people learn about gardening. Check out his website at https://gardeningmentor.com.