March 23, 2015

3 Container Options for Potted Plants - Photo by Kevin Fogle (UrbanFarmOnline.com) 

Last week, we talked about two common types of containers for potted plants: plastic and terra-cotta. We’ll continue this week with reviews of several additional materials, including wooden planters, cast concrete, and glazed ceramic containers.

Wood

Wooden containers are a great choice for a natural-looking material that can blend into the landscape of your garden and age gracefully. These containers are relatively light-weight —especially when compared to stone, concrete and ceramic planters—and come in many shapes and sizes, from long rectangular planters and small wooden cubes to the classic half-barrel planters.

The most important choice when considering wooden containers is selecting a rot-resistant wood like cypress, redwood or cedar. For the environmentally conscious consumer, try to find wood from sustainable sources. If you’re considering building your own wooden planters to grow edibles, avoid using treated lumber, which can leach toxic substances into the soil and root systems of your plants.

Glazed Ceramic

The most colorful container option on the market is going to be glazed ceramic pots. These pots are heavy, relatively fragile and often expensive, but they make a bright personal statement in your garden or on your front porch. The diversity of colors and decorative textures available means that the right color can be found for any setting or landscape.

When glazed on the interior and exterior, the walls of the pots become non-porous, meaning drainage and over-watering can become issues. Cracks or chipping in the glaze may lead to significant damage in cold weather climates when moisture is present, so it’s often a good idea to store your glazed ceramic planters along with with your terra-cotta planters in a dry spot out of the elements during the winter months.

Cast Concrete

Cast concrete is extremely durable, lasts forever, is highly stable and can be found in a number of viable shapes and sizes. The durability and stability of concrete comes at the cost of increased weight. Along with stone containers, cast concrete pots or planters are some of the heaviest found at your local garden center.

The high lime content in concrete may cause issues with some lime-sensitive plants, like blueberries. You can lower the surface lime content by giving the concrete container a series of vigorous rinses with a sprayer nozzle a few days before planting.

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