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How to Choose Your Growing Containers

How to Choose Your Growing Containers

Selecting what you want to grow is often just one step in your gardening adventures. Choosing the right growing containers to sow your plants is also an important decision you should make before you begin.

While the size of the container and the material of which it’s made are significant characteristics to consider, it’s wise to understand three key factors before getting into those details.

Three Rules for Choosing Growing Containers Drainage

In general, drainage, porosity and weight are the fundamental features to keep in mind when selecting a growing container. A pot with proper drainage, such as holes in the bottom, provides plants the needed room to grow and allows adequate oxygen to reach the roots. If water has nowhere to drain off, plants will drown.


The porosity of a container is another important consideration. Look for unglazed terracotta, clay, wood and other natural materials, as these will also allow air to circulate around the plants and moisture to evaporate. The disadvantage that comes with this is that these containers dry out faster so plants need water more frequently.


If you want to move containers or place them on a weight-bearing surface, such as a deck, take into account the total weight—soil, pot, plants and water—of each container. Lightweight containers allow for more mobility, or you can place heavier containers on casters. Tall or top-heavy plants may call for sturdier containers to provide stability from wind.

As far as specific container material recommendations, terracotta remains a popular favorite of many gardeners, though it can easily dry out, or break if dropped or exposed to freezing temperatures. Large containers can be heavy and costly.

Glazed ceramic—also heavy and costly in larger sizes—can add a personal touch to your garden, as they are available in various designs and colors. They can handle the winter fairly well too, but are ideal for indoors.

Though not a “natural” material, plastic pots have their place. They are durable, lightweight and affordable, and you can find them in plenty of colors, textures and designs. Plus, they allow you to test out plants and even locations before committing to more permanent containers.

Wooden containers provide a natural rustic look, but be aware they will break down over time. They can be heavy, so put them in place first before adding soil. Wooden containers are best for outdoor settings.

Concrete containers are the most durable, but very often the heaviest and most expensive. Outdoor use is suggested.

Need more guidance in selecting containers? Please let us know! Call us at 800-531-4769 or visit our website,