5 Types of Garden Containers

Learn about a few basic types of containers that you can use to make the most of your growing efforts.
Container garden with Key Lime Pie heuchera, Toffee Twist carex, Melon Symphony osteospermum

Self-Watering Pottery

Self-watering pots boast a variety of materials, including pretty glazed pottery.

Photo by: Image courtesy of ProvenWinners.com

Image courtesy of ProvenWinners.com

Self-watering pots boast a variety of materials, including pretty glazed pottery.

Explore the variety and versatility of container gardens. These finite growing spaces include a host of options that encompass every style, from traditional, to contemporary, to practical. 

Self-Watering Pots

Self-watering pots eliminate daily hose-lugging chores. These amazing containers have come of age. They used to be available primarily in plastic, but advances in technology have resulted in self-watering pots in nearly any type of material. Most self-watering pots work by having a water-holding reservoir built into the pot. A specialized opening offers a place for you to fill the reservoir. A wicking system, coupled with openings for plant roots, help conduct water from reservoir to dry soil. You can also buy self-watering container kits to make any pot self-watering, or go the DIY route and make your own.

Strawberry Planters

Strawberry planters take on a variety of forms. The most traditional is the jar with pockets. Usually made from terra-cotta, this jar offers planting spots in the top and pockets. Other strawberry planters, like hanging baskets or totem planters, make allowances for runners to dangle. Raised, tiered strawberry pyramids elevate the crop so it occupies less ground space while still producing top yields.

Window Boxes

A window box gives your home a sense of charm and allure like no other planter. This type of container suits any architectural style, and you can find boxes in a variety of materials. Look for plastic, wood (cedar is rot-resistant) and metal window boxes for a classic look. Choose hayrack planters made from powder-coated steel and lined with a coir liner to hold soil to complement a cottage garden.

Raised Beds

Raised beds provide a gardening option when existing soil is impossible for growing. You can use almost any material to create elevated planting beds, including wood, stone and brick. Look for manufactured end pieces that make quick work of slapping together a 2-x-4 raised bed frame. Choose a raised bed height that makes sense for your health, crops and growing region. In coldest zones, avoid planting perennials in free-standing beds over 6 inches tall, or you risk having roots freeze over winter. Taller beds can double as outdoor seating while tending plants or hosting backyard picnics. Freestanding, elevated raised beds take bending out of the growing process. The key to success with raised beds is filling it with excellent soil.

Vertical Containers

Select vertical containers when horizontal space is at a premium. Vertical containers take planting to new heights, with half-round, rectangular or pocket-type planters that fit snugly against vertical surfaces while providing a spot to tuck soil and plants. In tight quarters, stack vertical containers to create a tiered garden. Also look for freestanding or wall-mounted vertical planters that resemble a series of small shelves or actually hold stacked planting pots. These vertical planters create living surfaces that transform any wall into a garden.

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