Ideas for Planting Pots

Mixture of annuals in a plastic terra cotta pot image by S.F. Heron


Strategically placed potted plants can enhance outdoor living areas with vibrant splashes of colors, and there are myriad types to fit every décor style. Add some flowering and non-flowering plants and you've got the perfect centerpiece for an outdoor table or an unoccupied nook on your wooden deck. Planting pots require minimal effort to create a lasting decoration that will bloom and expand over the growing season. Here are some unique ideas for outdoor decoration.

Choosing the Planting Pot

The first step involves choosing the pot for your plantings. The materials used to create the pot can help you decide which works best for you. Wooden planters tend to be heavier and are often used as stationary planters. Terra cotta pots are versatile and come in a variety of shapes and sizes, though they will deteriorate over time from wind, weather and minerals in the soil. Terra cotta pots may need to be replaced every four to five years. Plastic pots come in many colors and designs to match your outside furnishings and work well as long as you purchase drainage trays to prevent staining your deck or patio. Ceramic glazed pots are long-lasting and add a unique look to the patio with intricate designs and colors. Lightweight resin pots come in an attractive variety of shapes and sizes so you can move your plants easily. Consider purchasing an odd-shaped pot to add spunk to your garden. An old-fashioned watering can or unused terra cotta chiminea can form the perfect planting pot for trailing vines or petunias. Multitiered ceramic planters allow levels of flowers that peek out of little holes in the sides of the container. Half-circle-shaped planting pots fit nicely around the center stem of an umbrella on a table. Just about anything can be used as a planting pot, so use your imagination to create a unique look for your deck or patio.

Choosing Flowers

Your choices of flowers are limited only by what will grow in your area. Consult your local grower or nursery to help you decide between shade or sun-loving plants as well as higher maintenance plants requiring more frequent care. Evaluate the area where you'd like to place your pots before purchasing any plants. This will help you choose the right plant for the right area based on available sunlight, shade and access to natural watering. Choose flowers in a defined color scheme or create a riot of colors within one pot. Bedding plants grow well in pots and can be easily mixed because they have similar soil and moisture requirements. Add some ornamental grass or taller flowering plants to create height in the pot, which creates a more interesting container garden.

Non-Flowering Plants

The true backbone to any potted plant lies in the foliage. This frames the flowers within a pot and adds variety within the planter. Foliage can take the form of simple spikes or a trailing vine that drapes over the edges of the planting pot. Include coleus in your planting pots, as this shade-loving plant has variegated leaf colors ranging from magenta to light green.

General Care

Potted plants require special soil for good growth. Purchase a blended potting soil that includes fertilizer in the mix to ensure that time-released vitamins and minerals will feed your plant. Always make holes in the bottom of a planter to allow for adequate drainage. Water your planting pots frequently since these plants cannot draw moisture from the ground, and fertilize them every few weeks to keep your flowers blooming all season long. Clip back any dead flowers and prune any dead stalks to encourage the plant to grow and expend its energy on healthy growth.

Who Can Help

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

Photo by: S.F. Heron

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | Ideas for Planting Pots