How To Garden In Containers

Container gardening is achievable in any home, and will add character, charm and ambience, whatever outside space is available. From patios or courtyard, urban or country gardens, to balconies or even simply a window box or two, they are all perfectly suited for an assortment of flowers, herbs or even fruit and veg.

By Sacha Markin

Garden container

Why Garden In Containers?

  • Container gardens can not only look fabulous, but one great advantage of using pots and containers is that you can experiment with different arrangements of plants. Grouped in strategic places, they can break the monotony of an empty terrace or a bare-looking patio.
  • Potted plants can enhance entrances to buildings, beautifully line garden paths or highlight the border of a balcony.
  • It is a gardening style that is easily adaptable and can suit any outdoor space, especially if yours is on the small side or lacks any beds and borders for planting.
  • And, as the seasons change, the moveable nature of outdoor plant pots mean you can rearrange your containers to highlight the most interesting flowering plants.
  • Plus your garden can move with you from property to property.

Pick The Right Containers

There is an enormous variety of pots and containers to choose from, so be selective and creative when it comes to picking your containers. Keep in mind that the size, material and shape of the container should be helpful to your plant's health as well as complimenting its surroundings. Experiment with your containers - try some terracotta and plastic pots just to get a sense of your preference. You may discover that glazed pots look better on your modern decking than traditional style wooden troughs.

garden planters

Wooden troughs or baskets can be attractive and are relatively lightweight, but they can be susceptible to rot, so make sure the wood is of a solid quality. You may also want to finish the wood with a plant-proof preserver. If you use barrels, make sure that the hoops are secure. Wood containers cope well with colder weather and also provide more insulation than terracotta pots.

Terracotta pots are smart and difficult to overwater. The porous nature of terracotta allows the moisture and air to penetrate sides of the pot, but they can be damaged by frost and can be expensive to buy When it comes to glazed clay pots, although you can choose glazed colours to match your décor and surroundings, they aren't as porous as terracotta.

Stone containers can be visually stunning, but they are extremely heavy, difficult to move, costly and can break fairly easily. However they can add a wonderfully natural effect to the garden.

Plastic pots are cheap to buy and very lightweight, but often very basic-looking and easy to over water. Some can look like terracotta containers and can be moved and cleaned more easily than clay, but the plastic doesn't let plants breathe freely.

Hanging baskets, which are often made of wood or wire, can be a wonderful way to showcase summer flowers.

Wrought-iron or other unusual stands can add appeal to any garden.

Window boxes, which are usually made of wood or plastic, are great for high-rise living. In fact, just about any container can be used and adapted. Think unique - like grow poles, tubs and even old wheelbarrows!

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