Container gardening gives one the opportunity to be creative with dazzling plant choices and seasonal themes. Potted annuals and perennials offer solutions to landscape problems such as bad soil, softening hardscape areas, adding color to drab walls, creating focal points, and bringing captivating scents and calm to boring town balconies. Containers give you the ability to move your plants around creating a fresh look. They can go in a sheltered area during winter months, and if you relocate, you can take your potted garden with you.
The choices for containers are many. Here are a few.
Glazed ceramic planters: These add color and are made of stoneware. Ceramic planters come in several finishes, including crackled, drip, or multi-colored glaze patterns. Make sure it’s for outdoor, not indoor, use. The indoor glazed ceramic planters won’t hold up outside.
Resin and fiberglass: These are available in a variety of colors and styles. They’re great for balconies and rooftops where weight is an important consideration.
Metal: This includes zinc, stainless steel, copper, and wrought iron. If you like the patina look, copper is a good choice. Some metal pots are extremely heavy. If placing them on a wooden deck, porch, or steps make sure the surface can support the weight.
Plastic: Although okay in a pinch, the cheap plastic pots look cheap and don’t last long. They tend to crack and break in harsh weather. Choose the longer-lasting thick plastic.
Terra Cotta: Choose the handmade ones that are ½-inch to 1-inch thick for fewer chances of cracking and breakage. Terra cotta is porous, absorbs heat and dries the soil out faster requiring frequent watering.
Fiberglass: More durable than plastic because fiberglass planters usually don’t crack or break. Another benefit is the light weight making them easy to move.
Concrete: Although heavy in weight, concrete planters blend in well with existing concrete surfaces. Depending on the style, they can add elegance, old world character, or formality. The cheap concrete planters tend to crack. The higher-priced ones are worth the extra cost, especially if you’re going for the large sizes.
Wood: These include cedar, redwood, teak, cypress, and pressure-treated wood. Redwood last the longest, stains well but doesn’t take paint, and turns silvery gray if not maintained. Cedar can be painted or stained and will last a long time if preserved. For a rustic look, choose pressure-treated wood. To help prevent rotting of any wooden planter, brush on a wood preservative inside and out, line with heavy plastic or set potted plants inside.
Recycled Items: Antiques, collectables, and quirky objects make wonderful containers and great conversation pieces. Take care to protect them from rotting or rusting out. The best way to do this is to line the inside with heavy plastic and set potted plants inside. You can even recycle any accumulated water in the bottom to water the plant. © Copyright Dianne Marie Andre