Question:

What types of pots should I use for container gardening?

Going to Pot?

You figure you can just use your mom's old earthenware jars to plant your alyssum. Sorry, but that's like wearing your mom's clothes--they may not work for you, especially if you're container gardening in a hot climate. Contrary to what your mom told you, the sun is good for you--plants in a container garden need at least five to six hours. Container gardening tip from Dad: Cheap plastic pots and terracotta pots dry out easily. So which pots do you choose for your container garden design?

  • Shirley Brenon, gardening enthusiast and writer of a weekly gardening column for the Palm Springs, California newspaper THE DESERT SUN, warns that there are different grades of terracotta pots, and terracotta pots can rot.
  • Brenon says that the market features lightweight pots with resistance to UV rays, which are a good choice. She says that sturdy large pots are too heavy for gardeners unless you have a dolly.
  • As with raised vegetable gardening, cedar and redwood are terrific for a container vegetable gardening--check for creosote, though.
  • Mom always said not to have a narrow mind--a container with a narrow opening, like that earthenware jar, is a poor choice for a container garden.
  • Clay pots leak! Line them with peat moss and compost, and monitor for yellow leaves and roots, a sure sign your plants aren't getting enough moisture. Mom always said to drink lots of fluids!
  • We've mentioned rubber tires as containers--plants in tires, especially red peppers, get dehydrated easily, so water frequently--line the space under the tires with newspapers and garden cloth.

You don't like your mom's hair or her fruitcake, so don't be quick to adopt her methods of gardening. But you can adopt her advice.

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Sherril Steele-Carlin