How to Choose Your Grow Container

Popular pot shape include rectangular and cylindrical.Gardeners prefer taller pots rather than wide,squat containers because many plant root systems penetrate deeply.Of all the gardens i have visited,squat pots were few and far between.Gardeners i queried said squat pots may hold more soil for their stature,but they do not produce as extensive a root system.

The volume of a container can easily dictate the size of a plant.For example,annual flowers and vegetables grow very fast and require a lot of root space for sustained,vigorous development.Containers should be big enough to allow for a strong root system,but just big enough to contain the root system before harvest.If the container is too small,root are confinded,water and nutrient uptake is limited,and growth slows to a crawl.But if the container is too big,it requires too much expensive growing medium and becomes heavy and awkward to move.

Fast-growing annual’s roots develop and enlongate quickly,growing down and out,away from the main taproot.For example,about midsummer,nurseries have unsold tomato plants that are still in small four-inch (10cm) pots and one-gallon (4L) containers.The stunded plants have blooming flowers and ripe fruit.But few branches extend much beyond the sides of the container;the plants are tall and leggy with curled-down leaves and an overall stunted,sickly appearance.These plants are potbound,or rootbound.Once a plant deteriorates to this level,it is often easier and more efficient to toss it out and replace it with a healthy one.

Roots soonn hit the sides of containers where they grow down and mat up around the bottom.The unnatural environment inside the container often causes a thick layer of roots to grow alongside the container walls and bottom.This portion of the root zone is the most vulnerable to moisture and heat stress and is the most exposed.

When soil dries in a pot,it becomes smaller,contracting and separating from the inside of the container wall.This consideration is worst in smooth plastic pots.When this track develops,frail root hairs located in the gap quickly die when they are exposed to air whistling down this crevice.Water also runs straight down this crack and onto the floor.You may think the pot was watered,but the root ball remains dry.Avoid such killer cracks by cultivating the soil surface and running your finger around the inside lip of the pots.Cultivate the soil in pots every few days andn maintain evenly moist soil to help keep root hairs on the soil perimeter from drying out.

Do not place containers in direct heat.If soil temperature climbs beyond 75℉(24℃),it can damage roots.Pots that are in direct heat should be shaded with a piece of plastic or cardboard.

A one-to two-inch(3-5 cm) layer of hydroclay mulch on soil surface keeps soil surface moist.Roots are able to grow along the surface,and the soil does not need to be cultivated.The mulch also decreases evaporation and helps keep irrigation water from damaging roots or splashing.

Post time: Jul-07-2023