Container Gardening - A Guide to Using Planters and Plant Containers

Why Are Planters and Plant Containers So Useful?

You’ve done it, I’ve done it - everyone’s done it. I’m on about buying a plant when you know that your garden is full.

The plant is delivered and then you have to find a home for it.

Or you may have a patio garden. All concrete and paving slabs. No greenery to be seen within the confines of your brick enclosure.

Plants in round containers, situated on a patio, next to a wallThe Rowlinson Garden Creations Wooden Rectangular Planter 3x1, full of brightly-coloured flowers, situated on a patio, next to a house.

Someone buys you a plant as a gift. Help!

The answer to both these scenarios is, of course, planters and plant containers. Any plant will grow in a garden planter, given a few principles.

Principles of Planters and Container Gardening

The Rowlinson Marberry Cascade Corner Wooden Garden Planter 4x3m, full of plants, situated on gravel, surrounded by shrubs.

Size of Planter or Plant Container

Match the size of the planter to your plant.

Not the size it is when you plant it but research (read the label!) the eventual size.

Plan accordingly, bearing in mind you may have to pot your plant up into successively large planters as it grows.

Water Plants

Don't rely on rain doing this job for you.

A healthy, lush canopy of leaves of, say dahlias, in full flow will stop water from getting into your plant pot’s soil.


Match the compost type to your plant.

I’m thinking of camellias, perfect for plant containers, but requiring an ericaceous compost to thrive. Well drained? Add grit.

The Forest Toulouse Wooden Garden Planter full of plants, which are growing up its trellis back.

Feed Plants

The nutrients in compost do run out and, without the almost magical interactions that naturally occur in soil, you will need to add fertiliser at some stage.

Study your plants and they will show signs of nutrient deficiencies. Yellowing leaves are a good sign you need to feed.

Organic feeds are great for all container-grown plants.

Plant Container Drainage

Ensure all your plant containers have drainage holes.

Plastic plant pots often don't and you need to drill your own.

If, however, you want to grow a bog garden then block any holes or don’t drill.

Those are the gardening principles but choosing a planter is, perhaps, the most enjoyable yet perplexing part to container gardening. Make no mistake - the choice is vast.

So, once you know the style of container garden you want, e.g. cottage feel, modern, then choose your planter. This might help: 

Types of Planter and Plant Container

Wooden Planters

Wooden plant containers are superb to grow plants and fit into most gardens. They can lend a cottage garden or modern feel, or both.

The actual wood is usually treated to prevent rotting and the warmth of wood always serves plants well.

You cannot go wrong with a quality wooden planter.

Plastic Planters

Plastic planters add a modern feel, in many cases, and are long lasting.

Quality plastic will last forever.

They are physically lighter than other materials, so ensure they don’t get damaged in windy weather, but it does mean you can easily move them around the garden as plants flower, or simply start to do their thing.

The Forest Kitchen Garden Trough 3x3, full of plants, situated on gravel, surrounded by shrubs.The white Hillhout Nova Rectangular Wooden Garden Planter 3x1, full of plants with orange flowers, situated on a patio.

Concrete Planters

Concrete containers are heavy and once planted up are staying put.

They can look both traditional (if the container looks like stone) and modern (smooth concrete is fast becoming trendy).

Upcycled Containers

Upcycled containers are made from empty baked bean cans and hole-y wellies, to stone water-troughs from bleak Derbyshire farms.

If it holds compost it will sustain growth. Just stick to the container principles and grow accordingly.

The Rowlinson Garden Creations Wooden Tiered Planter 3x2 full of plants with pink flowers, situated on a patio, next to a wall.

Plant containers will add a whole new dimension to your garden.

There are endless container gardening ideas. Perhaps you could start with container vegetable gardening?

They can even be your whole garden, so please take a moment to view our superb range of wooden garden planters.

Updated 29.05.19 by the Buy Fencing Direct Blog Team