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.


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.


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.


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.


  • 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

Gardening 101: Container Gardening

container-garden.jpgIn case you haven’t read this post by Debra Roby at blogher, I thought that I would share a little of it just to give you a taste of a great blog post on Container Gardening. This post is very thorough and you will learn a lot of great information that you really need to know when considering gardening in containers.

Here is what Debra had to say:

This weekend I planted a very special part of my garden: the pots of succulents that grace my front steps and the kitchen pot garden that I keep on my back deck. Why?

Container gardening gives you options that you might not otherwise have in gardening:

  • Plants that can be moved with the sun
  • Plants where you want them, whether there is dirt or not
  • Plants to experiment with
  • Plants even when you have very little space.
  • Plants replaceable for seasonal color.

From Gardening 101: Container Gardening

Debra has some really great ideas on how to make container gardening work for you. She tells you how to choose a pot and how to prepare the pot for the plants you choose to place within them.

One of her best tips is to pour WARM water into the soil mix to prepare it for planting. This enables the peat moss in the mix to absorb more water and not repel it. This will help the plants to get the water that they need. She also tells you how to prepare the bottom of the pots so that your containers will drain properly. This is imperative to the health of the plants as too much water can cause root rot.

Debra finishes her post with techniques to help you to get the watering down pat. Watering plants in containers is different and she gives us lots of suggestions on how to best accomplish the task. She lays out the information in an informative yet laid-back manner.

It is a very enjoyable read and I highly encourage you to visit her post on container gardening. When you do, come back here and tell me what you thought. What did you learn from her post and what do you still want to know?

Photo provided by FreeFoto