Choosing pots and containers

Choose the perfect pots and containers for your garden, with the help of this Quick Tips video featuring Kevin Smith.

The right pot can make all the difference to your container display. Discover which type of pot is best suited to your needs in our No Fuss Guide to choosing pots and containers, with Kevin Smith, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine.

Choosing pots and containers: transcript

The great thing about containers is you’ll find one to suit every type of plant and every style of garden. Don’t think there’s just one kind of flower pot. Whatever kind of look you’re after, you’re guaranteed to find one for your plot.

Terracotta is the obvious choice and perhaps the most traditional kind of flower pot. They’re great for cottage style planting and really do stand the test of time. One thing to be mindful of, though, it can be a little bit sensitive to frost and cold weather and it can become damaged if temperatures really dip. So, if you live in a cold part of the country, be sure to take them in during the wintertime to protect them.

Of course, terracotta isn’t the only option, and you can also think about using a wooden container. The great thing about wooden containers is that you can paint them. There are all sorts of products on the market in lovely bright colours, meaning you can give them a really fresh look and change the colour year on year if you want to. The one thing to think about, of course, is that wood can become a little bit heavy. It absorbs moisture, so take that into consideration if you think you might have to move the container around. Wood can sometimes be not quite as long-lasting as other materials, too. If the moisture gets in, it can rot, so, think about this when you’re making a choice.

Metal containers are another option. They give a really lovely contemporary feel and are perfect for ornamental grasses and other architectural plants spilling over the edge. Just be mindful, though, that some metal containers don’t come with drainage holes. So if yours don’t, make sure you drill a few in the bottom before you plant them up. Metal can also become a little bit hot, especially in really warm weather. Combat this problem by lining the inside of the pot with bubble wrap. This will keep out the majority of the heat and keep the plants healthy inside. And don't forget plastic containers. There are all sorts of plastic options to choose from, from terracotta lookalikes like this one to bright, bold colours in really contemporary shades. And then there are things like this. It looks like stone, but it’s actually a composite plastic material and it’s really lightweight. Plastic is brilliant, because it’s long lasting and durable and really does stand the test of time. It also holds onto moisture really well. So it’s great for plants that are thirsty, or if you’re growing crops in pots. On the downside, they don’t weather too well. They’ll constantly look new or perhaps come to look a little bit grubby.

So they really are all sorts of containers to choose from. Just be sure to choose something that suits you, your plants and your garden.