Growing Plants Inside A Container

Growing Plants Inside A Container
by Kent Higgins

Gardening in containers gives even the smallest porch or patio the ability to project beauty and color or even fresh vegetables and spices for those who care for them. You can let your imagination run wild by utilizing container gardening, even if you live in a small apartment or home. There is a huge variety of plants, flowers, vegetables, and more that can be grown in pots and containers in even the smallest of perceived spaces.

Flower boxes, plantar boxes, window boxes, bay windows, sills, even creatively used fiberglass or plastic tubs and basins can be used to grow plants and flowers. There are literally millions of opportunities to grow plants, you just need to see them.

Before you use a container for plants, however, make sure you know what it’s properties, with soil and plants inside, will be. Will it drain well? At all? How strong is it, will it hold all that dirt and water? Is it large enough? Too large? Each plant is different and has different needs, so make sure your new home for your plant is fitting.

Plastic pots should have drainage holes and moisture trays or the ability to fit in them. Cheap, flimsy plastic can degrade and break down in sunlight, so make sure you use something sturdy enough. The bottoms of plastic 2-liter bottles will work if you cut small drainage holes in them, but don’t use them for more than a year before replacement.

Glazed ceramic pots are great and can have a lot of beauty and charm and intricate design, but they also need to have proper draining built in. Glaze does not allow water to pass through or soak in, so it needs to be provided.

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Ceramics that haven’t been glazed will do well, but can dry out the soil too, so watch for that. They are also prone to breakage and conduct heat and cold very well, so they can harm the plants in them if you don’t have the proper control.

Wood containers can rot or break down and will absorb water, but will also give it back when the soil inside is dryer than the wood around it. They make great containers for many reasons, but can easily succumb to rot and ruin. To avoid this, grow only plants that die at the end of the season, then empty the pot and allow it sit dry and empty for the winter before reusing it. This will kill any rot that’s growing in the pot and greatly increase its lifespan.

If you’re growing plants that require deep roots or are growing several plants in one pot, make sure there is room for that. Deep pots for deep-rooted, tall plants are a must so that the plant not only has room to spread out, but so it won’t topple over when it gets larger. It’s better to grow a large plant that’s starting small in the pot it will be in for the rest of its life. Transplanting is hazardous and traumatic for most plants and can cause problems.

Finally, the color of the container is also important. In hot climates, use lighter-color containers so that the heat will be reflected and do the opposite in colder climes. Some people put their decorative plant pot inside another pot when the seasons change, just to take advantage of the color factor. It can be that important.

Above all, though, make sure to have fun and to grow plants that you find rewarding and beautiful and you’ll definitely have a greener, happier home!

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