Container gardening or pot gardening/farming is the practice of growing plants, including edible plants, exclusively in containers instead of planting them in the ground. A container in gardening is a small, enclosed and usually portable object used for displaying live flowers or plants. It may take the form of a pot, box, tub, basket, tin, barrel or hanging basket.
Pots, traditionally made of terracotta but now more commonly plastic, and window boxes are the most commonly seen. Small pots are called flowerpots. In some cases, this method of growing is used for ornamental purposes. This method is also useful in areas where the soil or climate is unsuitable for the plant or crop in question. Using a container is also generally necessary for houseplants. Limited growing space, or growing space that is paved over, can also make this option appealing to the gardener. Additionally, this method is popular for urban horticulture and Urban gardening on balconies of apartments and condominiums where gardeners lack the access to the ground for a traditional garden.
Many types of plants are suitable for the container, including decorative flowers, herbs, cacti, vegetables, and small trees and shrubs. Herbs and small edible plants such as chili peppers and arugula can be grown inside the house, if there is adequate light and ventilation, and on outdoor terraces, larger vegetables may be planted.
Containers range from simple plastic pots, to teacups, to complex automatically watered irrigation systems. This flexibility in design is another reason container gardening is popular with growers. They can be found on porches, front steps, and—in urban locations—on rooftops. Sub-irrigated planters (SIP) are a type of container that may be used in container gardens. Potting material must be loose and allow drainage to offer proper aeration for roots to breathe, preventing root rot.
Re-potting is the action of placing an already potted plant into a larger or smaller pot. A pot that fits a plant's root system better is normally used. Plants are usually re-potted according to the size of their root system. Most plants need to be re-potted every few years because they become "pot-" or "root-bound". A plants' roots can sense its surroundings, including the size of the pot it is in, and increasing the pot size allows plant size to increase proportionally.
There are many advantages to growing plants in containers, namely:
- Less risk of soil-borne disease
- Virtually eliminate weed problems
- Mobile plants gives more control over moisture, sunlight & temperature
- Mills, Linn (29 January 2012). "Reap Benefits Of Container Gardening". Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- "Welcome To The World Of Container Gardening". University of Illinois. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- Neville, Jayne (2008). Flowerpot farming : creating your own urban kitchen garden. Preston: Good Life. ISBN 1904871313.
- Thompson, Al (18 December 2012). "Container Gardening Offers Many Benefits". Santa Maria Times. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- "The 35 Easiest Container and Pot Friendly Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs". DIY & Crafts. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
- Note: SIP simply means watering from below, in large commercial applications it would not be strictly a container garden.
- Society for Experimental Biology (1 July 2012). "Want bigger plants? Get to the root of the matter". (e) Science News. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
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