At present, container planting is increasingly becoming popular among most homeowners. Just as pallet gardening, planting in pots or containers helps in saving garden space.
Contrary to popular belief, just as planting in a growing kit, container planting delivers good fresh farm produce. However, for best results, you have to take good care of your plants.
Moreover, you have to use the right container for planting. Otherwise, your plants won’t grow to their full potential. The type of container you choose for gardening often depends on the plants you are growing.
How to choose the best container for gardening?
Before you select a planting container, there are a few things you need to know. Generally, large containers work best since they can accommodate different plant species. So, it is always advisable to go for a large planting container.
As a gardener, it is essential to identify the maximum height of your plants when they grow to their full potential. Typically, plants with deep roots will require taller containers. On the other hand, plants with shallow roots can grow well in shorter planting containers.
A good gardening container should incorporate a proper drainage system. Most planting containers often have several holes at the bottom that prevent the accumulation of water in the soil.
There should also be a flat bottom underneath the container. So, these are some of the things you should consider before settling for a specific planting container.
Best Types of Containers for outdoor planters
Below are some of the best containers you can use to plant your crops.
Over the years, gardeners have used clay pots as planting containers. Clay is naturally porous; hence it allows for the movement of air and water. One of the primary benefits of clay is that it is bulky. Therefore, it is firm, especially when placed on a surface.
It is hard for a clay container to topple over. Clay containers are also ideal for drought-resistant plants since they keep the roots cool for a long time. Even so, clay containers are prone to breakage. Also, note that you may have to water your plants more frequently when using a clay container but you also have the option of making a self water planter.
Another popular planting container is concrete containers. More often than not, stone or concrete containers are permanent fixtures. Unlike clay, concrete is less susceptible to breaking.
Concrete planting containers are bulky; therefore, they can survive in areas with harsh winds. Nevertheless, you will have to water the plants more frequently when using a stone container.
Due to their bulkiness, it is relatively impossible to transfer the stone container from one place to another. Trees and small shrubs can grow well in such containers.
Decorative Ceramic Pots:
If you desire to boost your outdoor aesthetics, consider using decorative ceramic pots. These pots come in different colors and designs. As a result, they are expensive but unquestionably worth the money.
You can use this container in both indoor and outdoor spaces. Nonetheless, these pots are smaller. Thus, you may not be able to grow a wide range of plant species in them.
Metal Pots: Gardeners also use metal planting containers to grow their bulbs and crops. But metal containers are not perfect for outdoor spaces. Remember, metal is prone to rust. Putting metal containers in outdoor spaces exposes them to moisture.
Subsequently, they tend to wear out faster when placed in outdoor areas. Luckily, you can always prevent this problem by lining the metal container with a plastic fitted container inside. Doing this prevents rusting and heat accumulation.
Another great container alternative is polyresin. Gardeners love this container since it is budget-friendly and portable. You can use polyresin containers on your porch, rooftop, or balcony.
These containers are perfect for outdoor use. However, they are vulnerable to falling over due to their lightweight nature. Polyresin containers are strong and durable. Thus, they can last for years without getting worn out.
You can also use plastic containers to plant your crops. Nevertheless, note that it is advisable to use high-quality plastic containers when planting outdoors. Plastic is not as strong as concrete.
If you are not careful, the planting pot can fall over. But high-quality plastic is much stronger. Plastic planting also comes in a broad spectrum of colors and designs.
However, if you plan to plant outdoors like having a hanging garden, go for high-quality plastic with maximum UV protection.
Note that plastic containers tend to be light weight and strong hence will work perfectly as rail hanging planters.
What do you line planter boxes with?
As seen earlier, you can use different containers or bags for planting your vegetables and fruits. When using containers made of wood, there are several things you ought to do before you proceed with planting.
Generally, you have to spare some time to prepare the planter box. Doing this promotes healthy plant growth. Below are some of the steps for preparing a planter box.
- Step one:
After you’ve found the perfect planter box, make sure it’s clean before you use it. Most planter boxes are always dirty. So, how do you clean planter boxes? First, make a bleach solution using chlorine.
Dilute chlorine in water and insert it in a spray bottle. Then, spray the solution on every surface of the planter. Gently scrub the surfaces and leave them to dry. Ensure the solution is not too harsh on the box.
- Step two:
The next step is to scrub the surfaces using waterproofing liquid. Materials like cedar planters and redwood can withstand harsh external conditions. Even so, they’ll still require waterproofing. Waterproofing makes them look brighter and newer.
- Step three:
After you finish waterproofing the planter box, create an effective drainage system. Use a sharp drilling object to make holes on the bottom of the planter box.
If your planter box has drainage holes, you can skip this step. Ensure that the holes are 0.75 inches in diameter. These holes are usually meant to drain excess water from the soil. The number of holes you create will depend on the size of the planter box.
- Step four:
Afterward, line the planter box with a plastic sheet. This sheet should fit all the corners of the planter box perfectly. It would be best to secure the plastic sheet using staple pins around the edges. The plastic sheet is often meant to prevent excessive build-up of heat.
- Step five:
Lay the plastic sheet at the bottom of the drainage and ensure the drainage holes stay open. You can also use broken pottery to facilitate proper drainage.
Some gardening experts prefer filling the bottom of the pot with gravel. However, gravel does not work well with most plants. Generally, gravel reduces the quality of the soil and does not help with drainage.
- Step seven:
The final step is to let your planter box sit on a level surface. Avoid placing the planter box on the ground. Look for an elevated area like your deck or porch rail to place the planter box.
More often than not, it would be best if you lined your planter boxes to prevent rusting or the build-up of heat. A good percentage of experienced gardeners use plastic to line planter boxes. So, if you are using a planter box, never skip this stage.
Do I need to put rocks in the bottom of a planter?
For many years, people have believed that placing rocks at the bottom of a planting container helps facilitate proper drainage. However, this is not always the case.
Putting gravel in the bottom of a planter is harmful to both the plant’s growth and the container’s durability. Every gardener needs to understand why gravel is not their best option to line their planting pots. This way, they’ll boost healthy plant growth.
Understanding drainage in container planting
Typically, your plants thrive in areas with proper drainage. When a planting container dies, it can attract pests and diseases because it does not allow for proper drainage.
So, before you place anything on the bottom of the container, know that the container should have drainage holes. These drainage holes are responsible for getting rid of excess water and facilitating adequate airflow.
Why can’t we use rocks for drainage?
Back in the day, gardening experts advocated placing a layer of gravel on the bottom of the planting container.
Contrary to popular belief, gravel can lead to severe damage to plant roots. Think about it. When you place gravel at the bottom of the container, it takes up the soil space. Subsequently, it makes the container smaller.
Additionally, water flows very slowly through gravel. So, as water passes through the soil into the gravel, very little water will reach the gravel area. The water will have already saturated the soil. And this is dangerous since it can kill the plant.
Not to mention, gravel adds a lot of weight to the container. In fact, gravel can cause cracks and leaks in the planting container. Avoid placing gravel in lightweight planting containers.
An alternative to gravel:
Instead of using gravel, consider using potting soil. High-quality potting soil will facilitate proper drainage. In turn, it will boost healthy plant growth. Farming experts advise spreading a coffee filter at the bottom of the container.
Coffee filters often allow water to pass through them but filter solid particles. Therefore, your soil will remain in the potting container with a coffee filter even when excess water passes through the drainage holes.
Proper Procedure to planting in a container:
If you want to start planting, select the most suitable planting container that caters to your requirements. Then, begin by creating multiple drainage holes at the bottom of the container.
Layer the bottom of the container using a coffee filter. Pour the planting soil into the container and start planting considering the number of seeds. Water and take good care of your plants until they mature.
Ultimately, avoid using gravel to facilitate proper drainage. Putting rocks at the bottom of the planting container does not promote adequate drainage. Although most gardening experts report that rocks help with drainage, avoid using this technique.
It is much more effective to use the coffee filter technique to foster adequate drainage. Putting rocks at the bottom of your container does not prevent the soil from becoming soggy.
Consequently, your plants are prone to damage when you place rocks at the bottom of the container. Furthermore, rocks can damage your container.
What to put at the bottom of your indoor planter for drainage?
One way to take care of plants in containers is to ensure there is proper drainage. The majority of plants get damaged when there is excess water in the soil. Also, wet soil serves as an attraction point for bugs, pests, and diseases.
So, you have to make sure you have an excellent drainage system in your planting container. There are so many ways you can facilitate proper drainage.
Below are some of the things you can put at the bottom of your indoor planter for adequate drainage.
- Liner Pot:
Some planting pots, like decorative ceramic, don’t have a drainage system. If you have such a planting pot, spread a liner pot on the interior of the pot.
A quality liner pot will help you get rid of excess water in the soil through filtration. When using a liner pot, keep monitoring how much water is in the large pot. Always empty it when it’s full.
- Coffee Filters:
One of the best materials you can use to facilitate proper drainage in planting containers is coffee filters. Usually, coffee filters allow liquid to pass through them but trap solid particles.
So, when you place coffee filters at the bottom of the container, the soil will stay intact, and excess water will get removed. An alternative to coffee filters is the cheesecloth.
If you plan to grow your plants in containers, always go for potting soil. Unlike standard gardening soil like cage and trellis, potting soil contains perlite.
Perlite is typically tiny particles of white volcanic rock. Adding perlite to planting soil enables the soil to stay loose.
As a result, the soil drains efficiently. You can purchase potting soil from your nearest garden store. Alternatively, you can buy perlite separately.
Then, mix it with the planting soil you plan to use. Afterward, pour the soil into the container and proceed with planting.
Why use pot containers for planting
Growing in a grow bed, planting containers or pot planters is now widespread among most individuals. Planting in containers helps homeowners save space and boost the aesthetics of their property.
Nonetheless, before you begin planting in pots, ensure you consider several aspects. One of the main aspects to consider is the type of planting container you plan to use.
There is a broad spectrum of planting containers today, from clay pots to plastic containers.
The one you choose depends on your requirements. Additionally, it is essential to make sure you have an excellent drainage system in your planting container. Observing all these practices will help you grow robust and healthy plants.