Best Garden Containers

Some of the best garden containers aren't just pots or urns.  All kinds are available for your container garden plantings.  Pots and urns are popular, but boxes, troughs and baskets have lots of advantages, depending on what you are planting and where your containers will be placed.

Boxes and troughs

Troughs and boxes are generally made of wood, concrete, resin or plastics. They can be used alone or inserted into frames that make them window boxes.

Square containers give roots more room to grow.

Wood boxes

  • Wood is a good insulator and holds moisture well.
  • It is affordable
  • All wood is susceptible to rot.
  • Line with plastic or rubber to cut down on rot, make sure it has good drainage and set up on bricks or blocks to help that.
Lightweight plastic boxes are great for areas where weight is a factor - rooftops and balconies.

Plastic or Vinyl Boxes

  • All kinds of colors, sizes, shapes
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable and durable
  • Holds moisture well
  • Heats up quicker than natural materials, so pots will dry up soon and may need more frequent watering

Create corners or divisions

Troughs or boxes for container gardens are more space efficient than round containers. Line them up to create a wall that separates one outdoor area from another. Set them at 90 degree angles from one another and you have created a corner. They can be used as a barrier along a deck or step that has no railing. These planters can be found at simplyplanters.com

Create a corner, wall or barrier with large troughs or boxes.

Ideal for trees and shrubs

The best garden containers for trees and shrubs are often boxes or troughs.  They are ideal for larger plants that have long root systems.

Window boxes

For traditional charm, window boxes are the best garden containers.

They can be made from any type of material, but lighter weight materials would be best if hung on a wall. Make sure the brackets and hardware that you use for hanging are adequate to support the box, plants, soil and water.

Wooden window boxes can be heavy. To achieve the traditional look without the weight, try vinyl boxes in a woven style – they look like baskets.

Traditional window boxes are charming, and allow you to enjoy your garden from indoors too.

Rail planters

Rail planters are pretty much window boxes that are designed to be installed along deck rails. They also are usually designed for the use of liners. Rail planters are great because they let you line your deck with beautiful plants but don’t take up any floor space and they keep your plants at a good level for both enjoyment and ease of care.

Again, put your gardens up - this time on a rail - saving floor space and making care and watering easier.

Lots of  boxes for windows or railings are made to accept plastic liners and metal ones are generally lined with coco mattings. If you use liners, make sure both the liner and the box have adequate drainage.

Wall mounted boxes

Boxes can be mounted on walls or hung from fences.  Wall mounted boxes are the best garden containers to use to break up long expanses of wood panels, brick or stone.

Make sure you use brackets or frames that are sturdy enough to hold soil, plants and water.  As with every container, drainage is a must. 

Baskets

Make sure your hanging gardens are hung from sturdy brackets or hardware.

Baskets are some of the best garden containers because of their versatility.  They can be used just about anywhere. They are space saving so they're great for small decks, patios or balconies with little floor space. They are also lighter weight than ceramics, wood or concrete which is important on balconies or terraces where heavy containers aren't practical.

Planting annuals in hanging containers like these is a fast and easy way to bring color into your garden area. Hang at eye level where the color can be enjoyed and they will be easier to access for care. Line up hanging containers and you have a good privacy screen or a natural shade awning in front of exposed windows.

Hang them almost anywhere

Using baskets for container gardens allows you to hang them from almost anything.

Nothing grows well under a big tree in my backyard. It is very shady and my dogs keep the ground beaten down. I hang containers of fuchsia, impatiens and other shade plants from the lower branches. It's a good way to fill up the open space between tree and ground and it brings the eye upward away from the ugly ground beneath the tree.

You can mount hooks on your deck rail and hang pots from there too. Hanging baskets allow you to have beautiful displays of flowers without taking up any floor space on your patio, deck or porch.

Vary the lengths of chain or the hooks from which your gardens hang. You will create a display that is pleasing to look at, but also able to create privacy by taking up vertical space.

Flat baskets are good for use along a flat wall - great for balconies and terraces where floor space is at a minimum. You can also use them against a trellis to create a wall or screen.

Shepherd’s hooks let you hang a basket in the middle of a flower bed or in the yard to spruce up a bare spot.

The best garden containers to hang from rafters, rails and balconies need to be lightweight.  Baskets fit this bill.

If you are gardening from an apartment balcony, with a unit above you, make sure the area from which you hang your pots will support the weight of the container and its contents, plus water.

When mounting brackets or hangers, make sure you use hardware that is right for the project. Pots made for hanging are lighter than other containers for the most part but your mountings need to be able to support the container, soil, plants and water.

Baskets are good for veggies and herbs too

Baskets are one of the best garden containers for herbs and vegetables.  

Compact herbs like compact thyme, sage, chives and mint work well - as do fruits or vegetables that vine - like strawberries and tomatoes.

Hang the containers low enough to make it easy to water, feed and harvest.

Choose the right material for your best garden containers

Plastic

  • All kinds of colors, sizes and shapes.
  • Lightweight.
  • Affordable and durable.
  • Plastic holds moisture well.
  • Plastic will heat up quicker than natural materials so plastic pots will dry up sooner and may need more frequent watering.

Aluminum

  • Lightweight
  • Rust proof
  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Many shapes and size
  • Can be used alone or with liners

Baskets need more water

Using hanging baskets for container gardens does require more frequent watering. Baskets tend to dry out more quickly than other containers because they receive sun and wind from all directions and are not generally as deep as other containers. You will need to water them water frequently.

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Trees and Shrubs do great in box style planters.

So do perennials with larger root systems, and vegetables.

Used crates make some of the best garden  containers, even if they have open slats.

Just line the carton with landscaping paper before you add soil and plants.