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How to Choose the Right Garden Planter, Container, or Pot

There are so many lovely plant containers and pots available for use in our gardens, on decks and porches, and indoors. How do you choose the best one? Too often we are guided by our taste alone. However, to keep your container gardens growing happily and healthily you should give some consideration to the plant’s needs when choosing a planter. Some things are common sense, like ensuring your planter has drainage holes. Here are some other things to think about:

Plant Selection

We often leave the choice of plants to the very end of creating a container garden. You don’t need to know ahead of time exactly what plant you plan to use in your container garden, but you do need to consider a couple of key decisions when deciding on a planter.

  1. Can the plant survive in dry conditions?
  2. What is the mature size of the plant you’ve chosen? Be sure you’ve chosen a pot that is big enough for the plant’s root ball as it grows.
  3. Will you put ornamental grass in the container?
  4. Will you combine plants in the container?
  5. Will you be using the pots as indoor decorations?

Exposure

Will the container be exposed to the hot mid-day sun? Will it be in full sun all day? How about strong breezes? We’ve already mentioned that all pots dry out faster than soil in the garden, but certain exposures will exacerbate the situation. If you are planting in full sun, you will probably want a pot made from a material that is not porous. Terra cotta dries out very quickly. Synthetic resin pots stay cooler and retain moisture longer.

Watering

Is someone able to water every day? If not, does the pot or container have a drip tray or a reservoir so that it can be filled from the bottom and soak up water as needed? Once a plant has been stressed from lack of water, it may never recover.

Winter

Will you be leaving the planter out through the winter? In USDA zones 7 and above, this usually won’t make a difference. Colder climates will need to choose frost-safe containers like stone, cement, and wood. Even then, most containers need some extra protection in winter.

Mobility

Do you need to move the pot around? Sometimes a planter on a deck needs to be moved for convenience. Maybe you want the ability to move your container garden where the sun or shade is or you plan on taking the container in for the winter. If you need the ability to move the pot for any reason, think twice about buying either a heavy or cumbersomely large planter. Concrete urns are gorgeous, but they should stay where you put them, so as not to break either your back or the urn.

How do you choose the best container for your plants? To keep them growing healthy, consider the plants' needs. Here are some things to think about.

What is the Difference Between Pot and Planter

The main difference between pot and planter is that pots are small and round and house only one plant whereas planters are irregular in shape and can house more than one plant.

Pots and planter are two types of containers in which we can grow plants. Although there is a distinct difference between pot and planter, we often use these two words interchangeably. All in all, selecting the right container for your plant very important! The planter or pot you choose can affect how well the plant grows, how quickly the soil dries out and how healthy its roots are. Of course, this is all in addition to how well the plant and the container look, inside or outside your home.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is a Pot
Definition, Features
2. What is a Planter
– Definition, Features
3. What is the Difference Between Pot and Planter
– Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Plant, Planter, Pot

What is a Pot

Pots are usually small and round containers designed to house one plant. They can be commonly seen alongside plants since they add a traditional look. They are available in various materials including ceramic, plastic, clay and terracotta. Other materials like glass, wood, crystal, and fibreglass can also add a creative look to your pot and plant. However, ceramic and terracotta are more suitable for placing plants since they are porous. They are also more environmentally friendly than plastic pots.

When you are choosing a pot, you should also pay attention to the size of the pot. Always go for a pot that will give the plant enough space, but at the same time, you must make sure that the pot is not too big so as to make the plant appear very small. Choose a pot that is at least 1-2” larger than the plant.

Drainage is another important factor to consider before choosing a pot. Always make sure that there are adequate drainage holes in the pot. If excess water is not able to escape from the pot, the plant will drown. Weight is also a factor you have to consider. If you choose a heavy pot, it will be difficult to move it around the room.

What is a Planter

A planter is basically a container for growing plants. They are usually designed for outdoors and have an irregular size. They tend to be long, narrow, and rectangular, but this is not to say that there are no planters with round or square shapes. We also consider hanging baskets and cones as planters, not pots. Planters can house many plants at once, often creating a mini garden of its own.

Most people use the two words planter and pot interchangeably. Even gardening catalogues and gardening supply stores list the same products under both.

Difference Between Pot and Planter

Definition

Pots are usually small and round containers designed to house one plant while planters are containers that are irregular in shape and can house more than one plant.

Shape

While pots are typically small and round, planters tend to be long and narrow, rectangular in shape.

Plants

We use pots to plant only one plant while we can use pots to plant more than one plant.

Pots can be used both indoors and outdoors while planters are usually used outdoors.

Conclusion

Pots and planter are two types of containers in which we can grow plants. Pots are small and round and house only one plant whereas planters are irregular in shape and can house more than one plant. Although there is a distinct difference between pot and planter, we often use these two words interchangeably.

Reference:

1. “How-To: Pick a Planter for Your Plant.” The Sill, 21 May 2018, Available here.
2. Popa, Alexandru. “How to Choose a Good Planter or Pot for Your Plants.” Artiplanto, 11 Jan. 2020, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Five green cacti align to each other” (CC0) via Pickpik
2. “Flowers, planters, flower box, garden, container plant, decoration, floral decorations” (CC0) via Pikist

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

The main difference between pot and planter is that pots are small and round and house only one plant whereas planters are irregular in shape and can house..