A beautiful garden is a right combination of flowering plants, herbs, foliage, some hardscaping elements and an assortment of flower pots and containers.
How to choose a container?
Actually, just about anything can be used as a pot if you know how to do it and are sure that your plants won’t rot because of poor drainage. If you don’t want to recycle but want to invest in a brand new set of pots please go through the checklist below, it might be helpful.
- Cost: This is purely a personal choice because there are pots ranging from a few dollars to several hundred dollars in the market and it boils down to how much you want to spend on a pot.
- Durability: If you like to change frequently and revamp your pots then the cost and the durability don’t enter the picture. But if you like to invest for long term then the design, material and durability should be considered.
- Eco Friendly: It has become paramount nowadays to check the eco friendly nature of all the things that we use, be it gadgets or pots in the garden. As a conscious consumer you should try to choose containers and pots made from sustainable materials or if possible make your pots and recycle existing one creatively.
Different types of containers
There are a variety of containers that can be used successfully in your garden each with its own sets of advantages and disadvantages.
- Plastic pots
- White Polystyrene boxes
- Food grade polystyrene boxes
- Terracotta pots
- Ceramic pots
- Concrete pots
- Clay pots are
- Stone containers
- Self watering pots
- Hanging baskets help
- Wooden containers
- Metal containers
- Grow bags
- Upside down planters.
Phew, that is an exhaustive list! But our focus in this segment is on plastic containers. This video is a great demonstration of how to leverage the right type of container during your garden preparation.
Pros and cons of plastic containers
Probably one of the most easily available and inexpensive containers for your plants are plastic pots. But are they right for your garden, you can decide once you go through their pros and cons.
- Lightweight: This feature makes them versatile as they can be placed just about anywhere.
- Cheap: They are nominally priced and available at garage sales and recycling centers.
- Minimize root damage: Plastic gets heated up and cools down fast as a result the roots do not get damaged in hot weather or even when placed in sunny areas.
- Well drained: These plants often come with more holes for draining water than the more common terracotta, ceramic or concrete pots. And if needed additional holes can be drilled quite effortlessly.
- Variety: They are available in various sizes, shapes and colors and in different grades of plastic too.
- Safety: If you have kids and pets at home, this is a safer alternative because they don’t break easily when compared with the other pots.
- Not eco friendly: All plastic products are derived from petroleum and hence they prove to be a hazard for the environment.
- Not health friendly: Certain plastics are known to be very toxic to human health. Hence if you must use them then look for the least harmful of the lot like HDPE, LDPE and PP and avoid those containing PVC, PS and polycarbonates. It is heartening to note that the recent plastic plants are all made from PP though.
If your plastic pots have scratches and worn out, discard them right away as there is a great risk of chemical leaching into the soil.
- Not Durable: They tend to wear down more than the sturdy ceramic, terracotta or concrete pots and hence need to be changed frequently. Recycling these pots is also a serious challenge.
Thus we see that though plastic containers are versatile they are weighed down by environmental issues. Regarding their durability, place them in shade to prevent them from degrading under sunlight. If you have no choice but plastic containers then go for the least toxic ones. And when you choose to dispose them take them to the nearest recycling centre for their proper disposal.