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Proctor's Garden: Tips for picking the right pots for plants

Nearly anything can be planted in a container. The key is picking the right container for the right plant.

DENVER, Colorado — We can grow almost anything we like in a container. It's a matter of picking the right pot for the plant. Understanding different kinds of pots helps.

Glazed ceramic pots have advantages. They're durable and hold water well because the pot walls aren't porous like clay pots. Water can only evaporate from the top.

Terra cotta clay pots have advantages and disadvantages. Their walls are porous, providing a transfer of air and water through them. If you're a chronic over-waterer, this may help prevent root rot and death by drowning. Soak clay pots before planting so they get saturated. Otherwise, they'll continuously wick moisture from the soil within. Clay pots always benefit from a saucer beneath to catch excess moisture; glazed pots don't necessarily need saucers.

Small clay pots are only suitable for cacti and succulents. Everything else will fry. 

Plastic pots are good choices if you can paint them or give them a faux finish so they look like terra cotta. Plastic pots are also less expensive and hold water well. 

When planting big, deep pots, it's fine to fill the bottom with packing peanuts--only if you put a barrier of burlap on top of them before adding soil. Otherwise, the soil will sink down into the spaces between the peanuts. Eventually the whole mess will sink way below the rim of the pot. 

Whether you select glazed, terra cotta or plastic pots, always buy a premium potting soil. That's the most important part of container gardening. 

More Proctor's Garden:

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Use different varieties of foliage to dress up pots before flowers bloom.

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