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How Do I Choose a Container for My Container Garden?

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picture of container garden in Terracycle Pot

Lamb's Ear in TerraCycle Pot

Photo © Kerry Michaels
Question: How Do I Choose a Container for My Container Garden?
Answer:

I am often asked how to choose the right container for a container garden. The simple answer is that there is no one "right," container for a container garden, there are many "right" containers. That said, there are a few guidelines that can help you make the decision.

Container Style - The choice of container style is truly unlimited. You can use anything at all -- from a clam shell to a recyclable grocery bag, to a classic terra cotta pot. It really depends on your budget, your aesthetics and what you want to plant. Anything can be a container, from a trashcan to a laundry basket..

Container Size Matters - The bigger the container, the more likely it is that your plants will survive. You have to water large pots less frequently because the more soil there is the more moisture it can retain. Also, a larger pot will give you a greater margin for error in fertilizing and watering.

Self Watering Containers - If you travel a lot or simply don't want to worry about plants drying out, you can buy a self-watering container. These can be great, but if you get a lot of rain, you have to be careful that your plants don't drown.

Drainage, Drainage, Drainage - Did I mention drainage? Make sure that your container, whatever it is, has drainage holes in the bottom, or that you can drill them.

Container First? - Sometimes I buy plants that I can't resist and then choose the container, and sometimes I choose the pot and then buy plants to fill it.

Love - If you see a container you love and can afford, get it. You can always find a plant or combination of plants that will look fabulous in it.

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