A Guide to Plant Pots

Today’s available range of plant pots is staggering – so vast in fact, that it can be near impossible for anybody but the most experienced gardener to know just where to start. There are terracotta pots, plastic pots, rubber pots and even pots made out of glass. Not only is it difficult to know which plant pot to use for which particular types of plant, it’s very hard to know what the difference between them is in the first place.

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How do you know if a plant pot has good drainage? Is there a particular plant pot to plant size ratio that gives the best results? Should the type of plant pot used dictate where the plant sits in the garden? These might sound like trivial questions, but they can be very important when it comes to preserving the health of your plants.

More often than not, the most common cause of plant death, is incorrect potting. Green-fingered gardeners are frequently advised to place broken crocks or stones in the bottom of their pots, but such advice isn’t as relevant today as it perhaps used to be. The microgardener.com suggests that it can actually do plants more harm than good. The modern prevalence of plastic pots means that a lot of the more old fashioned gardening advice should now be taken with a pinch of salt.

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Though plastic pots are not much good for lining your existing plants, they are some of the most effective products on the market right now. Not only are they cheap to produce, buy and store – they can be used to successfully pot almost any kind of plant. They do however, have one rather large disadvantage.
Plastic pots do not ‘breathe’. Terracotta, rubber and glass pots drain a lot more effectively than plastic ones, because plastic pots have a frustrating tendency to ‘sweat’. A plastic pot left outside will become softer and warmer during the daytime. As soon as night falls, all of the moisture collected during the day condenses inside the pot. This constant alternation between wet and dry makes it hard for a plant to breathe. According to gardening website Winsfordwalledgarden.com, many plants get steadily weaker if planted in a plastic pot and not very closely monitored.
It is possible however, to shop for a plastic pot with much larger drainage holes than necessary – or you can even create some new holes yourself, with a hole borer and a pair of scissors. Voila, you have a much more effective plastic plant pot. Generally speaking, the more drainage holes a plant has, the better.

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Size is another important thing to consider when buying a plant pot says the BBC’s dedicated gardening web site bbc.co.uk/gardening.co.uk Anything bigger than 30 litres, tends to come with its own set of problems. It can be difficult to tell how much moisture a very large potted plant needs. Even if the topsoil is dusty and appears dry, you can never be sure that a plant doesn’t have large amounts of moisture hidden below the surface.

Too little water and a plant will die of thirst. Too much water and a plant will drown. A good gardener knows that giving the right amount of water to a plant is half the battle. If a large pot can be comfortably picked up, it is possible to use its weight to roughly deduce the amount of water it is holding. Do be careful with lifting heavy pots.

Choosing the right type of pot for your plant is an important process and one that can even mean the difference between its life and death. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you’re shopping for plant pots, especially at garden centers and specialist retail outlets. Not even the most skilled gardeners in the world get it right every time, so don’t worry if you make a potting mistake or two. Flora Select’s range of plant pots should offer everything you need for potting. Practice makes perfect!

He is a gardening expert and enthusiast about his home decor and gardening. He writes for a number of online gardening publications and decorating tips on various subjects.