Planting Using Containers

Planting Using Containers

Planting in containers is a skill all gardeners should learn. You can create beautiful displays using many kinds of garden plants for seasonal interst. Containers come into their own when space is limited and you can move and arrange plants more easily than those in the ground.

Clay or terracotta

Looks very attractive, but tends to dry out more quickly than plastic. Clay or terracotta pots are also prone to cracking caused by frost. Look out for frost-proof pots, or stand pots on ‘feet’ over winter to prevent them becoming waterlogged, therefore reducing the risk of frost damage. May be more expensive.


Pots are lighter than clay and don’t dry out as much as clay or terracotta. There is now a wide range of plastic pots available –  some even look like terracotta pots and may be cheaper but not as authentic in appearance.


This is a very popular material, with a modern look. Metal containers are frost-proof and won’t dry out like clay. The problem is they heat up quickly in summer, and likewise, are very cold in winter. The other potential problem is corrosion.


Half barrels are popular for growing fruit trees. Wood is problematic in that it rots. You can extend the lifespan of a wooden container by lining it with plastic sheeting with holes in the bottom and painting the wood with a preserver.