Pots, planters and hanging baskets buying guide

Pots, planters and hanging baskets buying guide

There’s plenty to think about when buying a plant pot, including what you need to get the job done. If you only want a small collection of succulents to decorate your home, you won’t need an impressive moisture retention system. If you want to start your garden transformation but aren’t sure what type of plant pot will work best for you, read this Homebase guide to find out more about pots, planters and hanging baskets. We explore everything from the best material for plant pots to what tools you’ll need to get your gardening jobs off on the right foot.

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What to consider when buying pots, planters and hanging baskets

Placement is one of the first things you should consider when buying plant pots as certain types need to be kept out of the sun. If you’re planning on keeping your plants indoors, choose a decorative pot - called a cachepot - to avoid the plant leaking water. You’ll also need to consider what type of pot you’ll need in terms of material and structure, but we’ll delve into that later.

Make light work of your garden transformation by considering what tools you’ll need to start planting. A trusty trowel should be part of any budding gardener’s kit. They have a variety of uses, helping to break up the soil and transfer plants to pots with ease as well as getting rid of any weeds that might pop up. Garden forks are great for both indoor and outdoor plants, helping to turn and break up the soil to ensure fertiliser or compost has been mixed thoroughly.

As well as trowels and forks, you should consider investing in a pair of garden shears to keep your bushes and shrubs looking their very best. Outdoor plants can be watered efficiently with a garden hose, whereas a watering can will suffice for indoor plants. Finally, don’t forget to grab some good quality garden gloves to protect your hands from dirt and scrapes.

Different types of pots for plants

Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, pots and planters are technically different. Pots are typically smaller in size, rounded and are only made to contain one plant at a time. Planters, on the other hand, work better outside and are meant to hold multiple plants at once.

Hanging baskets are a great alternative to the standard pots and planters. They are the perfect option for those who don’t have a lot of space in their garden, as they look brilliant beside doorways. It’s important to stay on top of watering these plants due to the amount of sun exposure they get, but they are still relatively easy to care for.

 

Plant Pots Comparison
Type of pot / suitable plants Where to put them Unique features
Hanging baskets

Suitable plants:
Petunia, Fuchsia, Sage, Geraniums, Parisienne Begonias
On walls and near doors to create a welcoming atmosphere.
Perfect for people who don’t have a lot of garden space, inexpensive.
Standard plant pots

Suitable plants:
Depends more-so on the material of the pot.
Outdoor and indoor. Needs a cache pot or liner to stop water from leaking when using indoors.
Planters

Suitable plants:
Vegetables
Outdoor. Multiple plants can be potted at once, available in interesting shapes.

 

Ready to start planting your pots and hanging baskets? Take a look at our helpful video below:

 

Best materials for plant pots

It may be tempting to buy the best-looking pot on offer, but choosing the right material is important. Different plants thrive in each type of pot, all of which have unique features that you’ll need to consider before purchasing.

 

Plant Pot Material Comparison
Pot material / things to consider Ideal plants Unique features
Plastic (for outdoor or indoor use).

Things to consider:
You’ll need to keep dark plastic pots out of the sun as they heat up very quickly. They may also need to be replaced every few seasons as they can degrade over time.
All plants if choosing a light-coloured pot, or plants that like shade for a dark coloured pot. Starting seeds in particular work great in these.

Good value for money.
Lightweight.
Coloured pots retain moisture easily, so you won't have to water them as often.
Easy to reuse.

Metal (for outdoor or indoor use).

Things to consider:
Heat up quite quickly during summer months but are frost proof and not as prone to drying out in other seasons.
Any - best used as a cachepot.
Durable so they won't crack easily.
Modern appearance.
Frost proof.
Wood (for outdoor use).

Things to consider:
Make sure your wooden pot is treated before it’s used as they can rot.
Wooden planter boxes are great for vegetables. Adds character to the garden.
Can be painted and personalised.
Terracotta, clay and ceramic (for outdoor use)

Things to consider:
These pots are more porous than others, meaning you’ll have to water your plants more to stop them drying out.
Plants that don’t require too much water: succulents, lavender, lantana. Striking designs.
Heavy so won't topple over in the wind.
Clay is considered a sustainable option.

 

Positioning of pots

As previously noted, you should avoid placing dark coloured pots where they’ll be heavily exposed to the sun, as they retain heat. This reduces the number of nutrients in the soil by causing it to dry out, making for a bad environment for growth. Keep dark pots inside or in a nicely shaded area of the garden to prevent this and you’ll notice a huge difference.

Drainage is vital for a plant’s growth, so make sure pots have holes in the bottom for excess water or they may end up oversaturated. Remember to protect your surfaces if you have indoor plants by placing a pot saucer underneath to catch the excess water and stop it from dripping. If you do end up purchasing a pot without holes, use it as a cachepot and place a smaller one with drainage holes inside to make sure you water it slowly and prevent liquid build-up and pooling.

You’ll be amazed by how the right plant pot can transform your space, turning it into a leafy haven that you’ll enjoy relaxing in. A large leafy plant, like an Ornamental Ficus, in the corner of your living room can brighten up the area, especially when paired with complementary colours like mustard and grey. Try placing hanging baskets full of vibrant blooms either side of your front door to create a welcoming atmosphere.

One of the easiest ways of upgrading your space is by creating a feature piece out of potted plants. Having one large plant surrounded by tiers of smaller pots instantly catches the eye and results in a unique piece of art for the garden.

Does the size of the plant pot matter?

When it comes to size, don’t just buy the biggest in the hopes your plant will grow into it. This often leads to overwatering and can simply stunt the plants growth rather than encouraging it. Your plant can fall victim to root rot in a pot that's too big, but one that's too small will cause the plant to become root bound.

Basically, getting the size of the pot right is key to thriving plants. If you’re not sure how to tell when your plant needs repotting, gently tip it out from its container and take a look at the roots. Are the roots growing out of the drain hole or tightly clumped together? You’ll most likely need to repot your plant into a bigger potted space. Any sign of decay, such as yellow leaves, despite good maintenance or the pot tipping over are both ways of telling if your plant pot is too small.

A row of small vibrant flowers can be just as decorative as a big leafy plant. Whether you focus on having a small collection or one main plant is up to you, it’s worth considering how much time you have to spend on maintenance. If you only have a few minutes to spare a day, you should stick to one or two plants and vice versa. There are plenty of benefits of indoor plants, including providing cleaner air and improved circulation so those who have more time to spend will reap the rewards.

Planting Mediums Comparison
Type of pot / watering tips Best type of soil Specialist compost required
Terracotta, ceramic and clay.

Watering tips:
All of these pots are very porous so you may need to water more than normal when using them.
Nutrient-rich soaked potting soil - should be moist upon planting.

Choose a compost that adds more moisture, such as the Gro-sure Easy Container Compost.

Plastic.

Watering tips:
Retains moisture very well so you won’t have to water them as often.
Organic. Multi-purpose compost or specific seed compost works well, such as Westland’s The Gardeners Seed Potting Compost.
Wood.

Watering tips:
Be careful not to overwater.
Potting soil. Moisture control compost is the best choice.
Metal

Watering tips:
Prone to overheating, check the soil to see how dry it is as this will indicate if you need to add extra water.
Potting soil. Choose multi-purpose or houseplant compost if using indoors.

 

Once you’ve decided on what type of pot, planter or hanging basket is right for you, it’s time to start shopping. You’ll find a plethora of pots that are both practical and charming at Homebase.

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