Container gardening is a great solution if space is your main concern. What’s more, there’s a whole variety of plants that thrive when grown in pots…

We’ve rounded up all you need to know about containers, from choosing the right size and material to how to clean used containers.

Different types of containers

First of all, it’s important to use containers that are suited to a plant’s needs, considering plant size and rooting depth. Containers should always have good drainage and the more natural their material, the better.

Clay and terracotta containers are popular because they look great and come in a large range of sizes and styles. They’re also porous, encouraging air flow, which is great for ferns, orchids and a variety of other plants). They do however absorb water so plants that fill them need more love and care.

Cast concrete containers are perfect to add to your landscaping design, but they’re heavy once filled. Place them in garden beds or besides an entrance, to create a focal point.

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Plastic containers are great as temporary pots, but remember to recycle (or store them) when you no longer need them. What’s more, they’re the cheapest of the bunch and work wonderfully as hanging containers as they’re so light. Plastic also doesn’t absorb water, meaning you don’t have to water plants as often.

Read more: How to grow veggies when you don’t have a garden

Choose the right size container

Size does matter! Small plants should be planted in small containers while big plants need more space. When large plants are planted in containers that are too small, they’ll eventually become root-bound (meaning roots fill up the pot and stunt growth) and topple over. Some small plants don’t like to be planted in pots that are too large as this can encourage root rot. Consider the fully-grown size of the adult plant when choosing containers.

Fact: Most pots are designed to be as deep as they are wide.

Drainage holes

Water collecting in the bottom of a pot can cause root rot which will kill plants. Your best bet is to avoid overwatering and ensure that all containers have adequate drainage holes. This is trickier with decorative pots, so it’s a good idea to keep your plant in a plastic pot inside another pot, and then remove the plant when watering to avoid it sitting in water.

Tip for cleaning pots: scrub them with steel wool and diluted vinegar, then soak in diluted bleach.

Read more: How to create a vertical garden