Picking the Perfect Pot
With so many colours, shapes, sizes and styles, it's tempting just to buy the pot you like the look of best - but take a few minutes to consider some of the points in this guide. You'll end up with pots that suit your needs, your space and your plants!
- Tall pots look fantastic but do require extra water as they don't retain their moisture as well. If you don't have time to spare on extra watering, block some of the space in the bottom of the pot by turning a cheap plastic pot upside down. If you're planting tall plants into a tall pot, be careful that your pot doesn't become too top heavy - otherwise a strong wind may cause it to topple and crash. Balance the weight of taller plants by placing some heavy pebbles into the bottom of the pot before filling.
- Pots with broad bellies but small openings (like a vase) look lovely, but keep in mind that once your plant outgrows its home, it will be very difficult to replant without either smashing the pot or destroying the plant. You may want to use annuals for these pots that you won't mind replacing.
- Bowl-shaped pots are perfect for decorative plants with relatively shallow root systems, like bonsai and trailing plants. Their breadth allows you to mix a number of plants together and create a mini garden, but steer clear of trees or shrubs as they require deeper soil levels.
- Trough planters are a classic shape that are very popular with shrubs, herbs and vegies. They are ideal for narrow spaces as they can fit several plants but fit snugly along pathways or the edges of balconies.
- For balcony gardeners, you can't go past fibreclay. Not only does it come in a huge range of shapes, styles and colours, it's very light. This means you'll avoid unnecessary strain on both your back and your balcony! Our lightweight cement range is also ideal for this particular need.
- Glazed ceramic pots are heavier, but are very sturdy. They're best suited to creating a long term focal point in the garden - they will be unaffected by the weather and are suitable for large trees and shrubs - just choose your size accordingly.
- Plastic pots are lightweight, versatile options with many shapes, sizes and colours available. They are sturdy but tend not to last as long as ceramic, fibreclay or terracotta pots. As they are difficult to break, they are a good choice if you are concerned about pots being broken by children or pets. Plastic pots also often offer a self-watering feature, which is great for busy or forgetful gardeners. They contain a reservoir at the bottom of the pot that fills with water and can be accessed by the plant roots as required. Choose your plants accordingly for this type of pot - if they hate wet feet, a constant reservoir of water may cause water logging and disease.
Top tip: Revitalise faded or mismatched plastic pots with a coat of spray paint!
- Terracotta has been a popular material for pots since ancient times, and its classic look will suit just about any garden. It's mid to heavyweight depending on the thickness of the pot. Keep in mind that terracotta is porous and plants may require extra watering as the pot absorbs some of the water, particularly when there are hot, drying winds. Terracotta pots are also perfect for children to paint to create their own garden!
- Timber wine barrels or planters add fantastic character to your space. Choose a hardwood timber like acacia for long-lasting planters, and ensure the pots have good drainage to avoid a waterlogged base which may lead to rot. A great option is to place them on pot feet or a wire tray with casters - not only does the pot receive great drainage and ventilation, but they are easy to move around when needed.
- Once you've picked your pot, don't scrimp on the potting mix. Remember, unlike in a garden bed, your plant relies on what's in the pot for all its needs, so choose a quality mix that drains well, has great slow-release nutrients and water-saving granules or crystals. We've developed Supersoil Professional Potting Mix as the perfect mix for potted plants. Whatever you choose, don't try to use soil from the garden in your pot - it will become sour and compacted when not in its natural environment.
- Good drainage is a must for your plants. If you have a pot at home that doesn't seem to be draining well enough, you might need to consider drilling extra drainage holes. For drainage holes that are large, place a piece of netting over the hole before filling the pot to keep the soil in place. Pot feet are invaluable for raising the pot and allowing excess water to flow out as well as allowing for ventilation. They come in a range of colours and styles so you're sure to find something to suit your pot.
- If you're using pots on paving or indoors, invest in a saucer to prevent staining underneath the pot. Avoid water pooling and stagnating in your saucers as it can provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes. If you have trouble with this, try filling your saucers with small pebbles or sand.