Potted plants add color, texture, beauty and versatility to your indoor and outdoor spaces. Here's everything you need to know about container gardening.

Choosing the Right Planter

The type, size and shape of a pot determines not only the look of your container garden but also its cost and care. Here, get tips on how to select the best planters for your patio and garden.

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Terra Cotta

Versatile and relatively inexpensive, terra-cotta pots come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and even colors, if you choose glazed containers. Terra cotta is porous and allows air to pass through to plant roots, but this is also a disadvantage, since it absorbs water from the soil, drying it out. It is also prone to frost damage, unless fired to very high temperatures, which makes it much more expensive.

containers come in variety of materials and colorsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Wood and Baskets

Although frost-proof, porous and a good insulator for plant roots, wood decays and must be painted or treated with a preservative to prolong its life. Baskets offer a similarly natural look, but are less durable, lasting just a few years before deteriorating.

wooden containers need a protective treatmentEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Metal

This is a popular choice of material because it's so versatile. Metal containers come in a wide array of shapes and styles; choose from rustic utilitarian planters for a cottage-style garden, or try modern galvanized or powder-coated metal containers in an urban, minimalist scheme. Beware that thin metal containers afford plant roots little insulation, making them prone to overheating and frost damage. Steel containers also corrode and can leave rusty stains on light-colored paving. Even galvanized and powder-coated metal containers will rust if their surfaces are damaged.

Metal Container with Foliage PlantsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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