Plants add color and liveliness inside and outside of your home. The planters that you put them in can also give you ample opportunities to add even more color and style to your space. There are some important things to keep in mind as you shop for planters — these accessories are decorative, but they can also help keep your plants healthy. Narrow down your shopping options with these tips.
What types of planters are available?
Planter boxes are large, rectangular planters that sit on your patio, deck, or anywhere you'd like to place them. They're often made of wood, and many come in larger sizes that are ideal for creating small container or herb gardens.
Railing planters mount on porch or deck railings. They typically hook over the railing, making them a portable option.
Window boxes mount to the outside sill of windows on your home. They may sit on small brackets, sometimes called corbels, that hold them in place.
Trellises are large standing grids meant for climbing plants. Vines and climbing flowers can grow up the sides or front face of a trellis, which may be flat or formed into an interesting shape, such as an archway.
Hanging planters mount directly to interior or exterior walls. They're ideal if you don't want your planters to take up floor ground space or if you want to create an interesting vertical display of greenery.
What's the best material for planters?
The planter material you select reflects your sense of style, but each one also has its own functional benefits. Here are a few of your options:
Ceramic: Offers a classic look and is relatively inexpensive; available in a wide range of colors for ample opportunities to customize your space
Plastic: Low-cost and lightweight; a highly portable option if you'd like to be able to move your plants around
Cast stone and concrete: Very durable and decorative; ideal if you want a more rustic texture
Wood: Often heavier than plastic; adds a warm and rustic appearance to a space
Metal: Gives the space a contemporary feel; often lightweight and easier to move than stone and ceramic options
What's a self-watering planter?
Self-watering planters feature water reservoirs that store extra water. As the plant takes in moisture currently in the pot, the reservoir releases more water for the plant. Systems like these have several benefits. They deposit water deeper into the soil, which helps roots grow healthily. They're also great time-savers if you're away from home often or don't always remember to water your plants on a schedule.
What is a drainage hole important on a planter?
Root health is extremely important for plants. Their roots are how they get nutrients from soil and water, and having properly draining soil can keep your plants' roots healthy. Leaving a plant sitting in stagnant water can lead to rotting of the roots or keep them from absorbing nutrients properly. Planters with drainage holes at the bottom allow excess water in the soil to drain, keeping the water at a level that helps your plants thrive. While different plants have different levels of moisture tolerance, you'll probably want to create a drainage layer with pebbles, pumice, or activated charcoal when using a pot without holes at the bottom.
How big of a planter do I need?
The needs of the plant will determine how large of a planter you should place it in. If you notice the soil in your current planter is drying out rather quickly, it might be time to move the plant to a slightly larger pot. "Slightly" is the magic word here, and you should aim for a pot diameter that's 1 or 2 inches larger than the plant's current pot. Putting a small plant into a planter that is far too big can have a negative effect on the plant; it may hold too much water in the soil and lead to root diseases. Other signs that you need a larger pot include stunted growth and roots that are coming out of the drainage holes. Some plants get so desperate for more space that their roots will even begin to crack the container.
When repotting a plant, research tips on how to handle the specific type of plant during the delicate process. It may be necessary to trim back the plant's roots, for example. Understanding your plant species' unique requirements can help ensure that you don't shock the plant, which can ultimately cause it to die.
Taking care of plants can be a relaxing hobby that adds beauty to your home. Just make sure you have all the tools you need to keep your green friends happy.