Flower pots are more than just containers--they can be art. Deciding on the best pot for your decor needs is just as important as for your gardening needs. Flowers grown in containers give you endless possibilities in gardening. Moving a potted annual from an entry doorstep to an old garden chair to a cluster of differing sized pots in a corner of the patio gives your landscape three different looks.
Clay is a porous material that is the perfect fit for containers in country and rustic gardens. Clay pots, though fragile if tipped or left wet to freeze, get better with age. Terra cotta orange turns tan from sunlight, green from moss build-up in shady areas, and gains interesting stains from lime deposits left during watering. A few simple paint techniques or a buttermilk wash to stimulate moss growth can help along the aging process in new pots.
Besides being fragile, the biggest disadvantage to gardening with clay pots are the watering issues involved with such a porous material. Clay soaks up water, so plants, especially ones kept in full sunlight, need extra care compared to many other pot materials.
If you're looking for a regal planter to act as a focal point on a stone patio, as a driveway sentry or in a formal garden, then concrete is your best choice. Concrete planters come in a variety of formal designs and sizes and can be tinted to various colors. Concrete is heavy and not as easily mobile as other choices. Drainage issues can also be an issue with concrete planters, so chose flowers wisely. Plants that need good drainage and cannot handle wet roots are a good choice for concrete. Because of its strength, concrete is ideal for shrubs and small trees.
For the same look at a lower price, you can substitute concrete for a number of faux concrete materials, such as resin, Styrofoam, fiberglass and fiberstone. Many of these are lighter weight and offer better drainage.
Using natural materials for planting flowers makes sense both for the environment and for design. Wood planters look great in any garden whether as window boxes, whiskey barrel halves or simply some flowers planted in a holed-out stump. Hanging baskets and window boxes made from coconut-shell fibers have excellent drainage and give the options of simple elegance or rustic design, depending on use.
Flowers will grow anywhere they get nutrients, water and proper sunlight. Formal containers are not necessary. Use your imagination and turn almost anything into a container. Plant an impatiens in a tea cup for your porch centerpiece. Old watering cans, milk cans and wash tins as planters give interest to a country garden or patio. A nasturtium spilling out of a worn pair of work boots on a front porch will bring a smile to your guests. Whatever you chose to use, add drainage holes--if possible--or make sure you water correctly to ensure proper root health.