Houseplant Basics 101: Containers

container.jpgYour houseplants need a suitable home to live successfully indoors. That is why your choice of a container is critical to the success of your houseplant. With such a wide range of containers available, you should be able to find just the right home for your houseplant. The two most important factors to consider when choosing a container are size in both depth and diameter and drainage.

Size

Make sure that your plant has the proper root to soil volume. This simply means choosing a container that will accommodate a plant’s root system and a sufficient amount of soil to sustain it. An oversized pot holds more soil than is needed and that soil can easily become saturated with water. This will disrupt the air/water balance and will increase the houseplant’s chance of dying of root rot. You should never increase soil volume by more than one pot size when repotting.

Drainage

Unless you are growing an indoor water garden, be sure to choose containers that have drainage holes. Water must be able to drain through the soil and out of the pot. Without proper drainage, your houseplant is likely to die. If you are thinking about putting rocks at the bottom of your container to help with drainage, don’t do it. Pebbles and rocks will shorten the column of soil which will allow for the soil to become more easily waterlogged.

Aesthetics

Just because a container has to be functional doesn’t mean that it can’t be attractive too. Garden centers are full of beautiful containers that will fit any style and budget. The right container can make just as big an impression as the plant itself, so take your time and pay attention to those finishing touches, as they have a way of making all the difference.

Tips

  • Remember to buy a saucer or tray to go under a container. Many containers are sold with a container already, but make sure to get one if your container doesn’t have one.
  • Add caster wheels to the bottom of a large container for easy mobility.
  • Use decorative moss, pebbles and driftwood on the soil surface to create visual interest and to discourage pets from digging.
  • Conceal less attractive pots and saucers in decorative baskets, crocks or plant stands. Be sure to remove any plastic liners that may prohibit drainage. This is a common problem for many sick houseplants as their roots are literally being drowned and smothered. Remember that the roots need air to survive.

What are some of your favorite containers for your houseplants? Leave me a comment and share.

Photo Provided by kevinrosseel