If you're looking to add some plants to your garden, it's important to choose the right pot for them.
This guide will help you choose the best pot for your needs, depending on the size and type of plants you want to grow.
Are Plastic Pots Bad For Plants?
Plastic pots are often cheaper than their ceramic and clay counterparts, which might seem like a good reason to use them. However, plastic isn’t as durable as clay or ceramic, and it breaks down much faster when exposed to sunlight and water.
Not only that, but plants in plastic pots tend to dry out much more quickly than those in other pots because of the lack of air circulation around the roots. If you want your plants to grow big and strong, avoid using plastic pots and opt instead for something that’s more durable and breathable like clay or ceramic.
Choosing the right plant pot for your seedlings
Choosing what type of pot you want to use is one of your first considerations in choosing new plants. There are many different types and sizes of pots, including metal, plastic, and ceramic.
There’s also a variation between deep-rooted plants that need large pots and smaller shallow-rooted plants that require less room in their containers.
One thing to consider when choosing your plant pots is whether you want them to be decorative or purely functional. Decorative pots can dress up your space while functional ones allow plants to grow strong and healthy.
Be sure to choose a plant pot that matches your needs and decor.
Being too cheap can actually kill your plants: Another important consideration when choosing your plant pots is if they will impact the growth of whatever seedlings you decide on bringing home from your local nursery, garden center, or hardware store.
If you’re being frugal and trying to save money by buying cheap plastic pots for your new seeds or cuttings, think again! This type of potting container is among one of the worst types to use because plastic doesn’t breathe.
Since plants need access to oxygen and carbon dioxide in order to grow strong roots and stems, using plastic containers like these can cause them to suffocate in no time at all.
Below we will explore some of the many options you can choose from that will help you make the right decision so you can get to cultivating some gorgeous flowers for your garden.
Types of plant containers
Most nurseries sell plants in plastic pots. Are they good or bad? Well, both and neither—it depends on what you need from your pot. To get to that answer, let’s talk about three major types of plant containers: plastic pots, clay pots, metal pots, and ceramics.
Benefits and negatives of metal plant containers
Metal pots aren’t just beautiful; they’re also durable and won’t break when you accidentally drop them.
The luster of metal containers will endure years of rain, hail, shine, and snow. Plus, metal pots don’t contain any toxic chemicals that could leach into your plant's soil and harm it in any way.
However, metal is heavy—metal pots can be 2-3 times heavier than plastic ones—which means metal containers might not be ideal if you plan on moving your plants around very often.
They’re also prone to rusting, which means over time you may find yourself with more brown spots than shiny metal. And lastly, while most manufacturers would disagree with me on this point.
I strongly believe that metal pots look better when paired with indoor flowers and ornamental houseplants as opposed to outdoor vegetable gardens and hearty herbs like basil.
Benefits and negatives of terracotta planters
Terracotta pots look better and last longer than plastic ones, but they’re also heavier to move around. Another benefit of terracotta pots is that they breathe, meaning plants inside them can better adjust to changes in humidity.
However, some people worry about using terra cotta pots because some types might leach chemicals into soil as it decomposes. On top of that, if terracotta pots are painted or glazed with lead-based paint on an exterior surface (like fountains or planters), it could cause lead poisoning if children ingest chips from broken pottery.
As with any horticultural decision you make, you should do your research before committing to either pot material.
If opting for a terracotta planter do some research and buy one with no or at least lead and toxic chemical-free paint.
Benefit and Negatives Of Ceramic plant pots
Ceramic pots look great and can add extra color to your space. They hold in heat and are particularly good at wicking moisture from indoor plants, making them suitable for succulents and other desert-dwelling plants.
However, they do tend to be fragile, which means they aren’t as well suited to outdoor use, where they could easily be knocked over by pets or children.
As well as being vulnerable to cracks and chips, ceramic pots can be heavy.
While they do come in handy large sizes that make them suitable for big plants, you’ll need to take extra care if you’re planning on moving them around or transporting them.
The weight in a large ceramic plant pot filled with plants and soil can well exceed 25kg so its definitely a 2 person job to lift them, if you work in your garden alone or do not have another helper at hand be very careful as back injuries are commonplace trying to move these heavy planters.
Wood plant pots
There’s no doubt that wood plant pots look far more appealing. You can even paint them yourself with high-quality exterior (non toxic/lead free) paint to make them any color you like.
These kinds of pots also retain moisture better than plastic ones, so you need to water your plants less frequently—which is particularly handy in dry climates.
There’s also no danger of mold or toxic chemicals leaching into your soil like there is with plastic pots.
However, wood is actually porous and can attract molds and mildews if you overwater it, which isn’t great for your plants either!
Another potential downside to wood pots: they cost more than plastic ones and break down faster! This means that while they look better, you end up spending more money in total because you have to buy new ones more often..
Benefits of pebbles and rocks for your container garden
Pebbles and rocks can make your container garden unique! I love pebbles and rocks because they bring out my inner nature lover. Plus, you can make it work if you want something that’s easy to maintain.
Pebbles don’t hold water, which means they drain very quickly, so they are ideal if you live in an area with hot summers and lots of rain. They also won’t wick water up from your potting soil like some other materials might.
Soil choices for your outdoor planters
Soil makes all of your planters come to life. The great news is that you have a wide variety of soil choices available, but some of them aren’t as good as others.
The three most common potting soils are peat moss, sphagnum moss and composted bark; which one you choose depends on what type of plants you’re growing and where you live.
Each type has its own unique properties that can affect everything from nutrient absorption to water retention.
While it may seem like just another element in an already-long process, having quality soil can make or break your outdoor garden!
If you’re new to planting in planters, start with peat moss. It’s affordable and easy to find at any local nursery and is good for pots that hold water.
Peat moss won’t damage potted plants but will hold water well enough to keep them healthy; because of its absorbent nature, however, it does tend to compact over time and often requires additional soil once plants outgrow their pots.
Sphagnum moss and composted bark are also good choices for your outdoor planters. They aren’t as lightweight as peat moss, but they don’t compact like peat does.
Sphagnum is more costly than peat, but it will last longer.
Composted bark lasts just as long as sphagnum and contains fewer nutrients and organic matter; however, if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain (such as Seattle), composted bark can be too absorbent.
It’s best used in pots that drain fast so excess water doesn’t pool at its bottom.
How do you care for outdoor potted plants?
Outdoor potted plants need more careful care than their indoor counterparts. They’re exposed to extreme elements, such as heat and sun, humidity and wind. As such, they require more regular watering and fertilizer than plants kept indoors; over-watering will cause root rot.
Proper soil maintenance is an important factor in successful gardening. When you first pot plants, add compost or rich soil to help them settle in comfortably.
A pH meter will show if water is too acidic or alkaline—use it to regulate pH levels that can impact plant growth and long-term health; too acidic means adding lime (dolomite) powder or crushed limestone; too alkaline means adding sulfur.
Other ways to help your plants thrive include mulching, pruning, removing weeds and pests, using stakes for tall plants, providing sturdy support for climbing vines, applying protective blankets in cold weather, feeding nitrogen during early spring months to help build flowers.
And remember: only purchase healthy outdoor plants from reputable sources; if you have any doubt about their condition when you purchase them, quarantine them for a month before introducing them into your outdoor garden space.
Lets finish up
The best way to enjoy your garden is to make sure that it is healthy and thriving. By following these simple tips you are off to a great start. You can ensure that your plants are potted in the right way and are getting the nutrients they need to your garden look great.