Plastic pots: These tend to be lightweight and low-cost, and they're available in many different colors. Plastic pots are better for indoor plants, as certain types of plastic (particularly black plastic) absorb summer heat and can cook your plant's roots. Be wary of very thin plastic; although plastic does not biodegrade, it does photodegrade, which means strong sunlight can eventually cause the pot to fall apart.
Terracotta pots: Made from red clay, these classic pots are the default for container gardening. The porous terracotta material absorbs water from the soil and then dries out, so either pair these plants with drought-tolerant species (like succulents and rosemary), or plan to do a lot of watering.
Glazed ceramic pots: These pots are sturdy, heavy, and can be glazed in a wide array of colors. Almost any plant will do well in a glazed ceramic pot. The two drawbacks are higher prices and a tendency to crack in freezing temperatures.
Hanging baskets: Consider this option for small plants, especially succulents. Hanging baskets give plants plenty of drainage, so don’t place anything below them that you don’t want getting wet.
Not only does a container’s size affect how well a plant grows, the container’s shape does too.
Round, square and rectangular: Medium to large round, square and rectangular containers with deep soil reservoirs (30 to 90 centimetres, depending on the plant type) are good options for flowering perennials, shrubs and small trees. Use larger containers for planting combinations of multiple plants so each plant has room to grow.
Shallow: Low bowls with less than 15 centimetres of soil are perfect for growing small succulents such as stonecrop (Sedum spp.) and hens and chicks (Sempervivum spp.).Planting stands can raise low containers a little closer to eye level. Shallow containers also work well as toppers for outdoor side tables and dining tables.
Vase-shaped: Containers that flare out at the top are good options for mixed combinations of annuals, flowering perennials and an evergreen shrub or small tree. The wide opening gives plenty of space to put together a combination of plants. Select the depth of the container based on which plant types you’d like to include.
Urn-shaped: Classical-style urns (wide at the bottom with a tight neck and wider opening) are good vessels for annuals and easily removed perennials. Keep in mind that if you plant anything that is deep-rooting, once a root ball forms below the neck of the urn, it can be tough to remove the plant.
Tall and upright: Tall, skinny containers can help elevate small plants, giving them more visual impact. Be careful about pairing a shallow-rooting plant such as a succulent with a tall container (anything over 60 centimetres) filled with soil. It’s easy to overwater and have wet soil collect at the base of the pot beyond the plant roots.