Welcome to Emily's Plants!

What Makes A Good Container - A checklist for selecting a container

A quick easy list to review before going out to purchase your plant's new home sweet home.

  • Drainage:Gotta have it. Make sure there are drainage holes in the container, or that it is made of a material you could drill or poke holes in yourself.

  • Porosity: Will the soil be able to breathe? Usually, you want it to, unless your climate or lack of interest in watering make drying out a real issue.

  • Breakability: Breakable is usually bad. Use your judgement. Be careful of clay pots freezing and splitting.

  • Looks: Isn't that what this is all about? Figure out how much space you have, and how you want it to look. For small balconies use smaller containers and avoid plants with overly large leaves. Intense colors make a space look smaller - pale, cooler colors make a space look larger.

  • Value: The best-looking, most fun containers are ones you find, drill holes in, and prop up on your balcony. These include abandoned toys, plumbing fixtures, appliances, and shipping containers. Just make sure there isn't any nasty stuff left in them that could leach into the soil and harm your plants.

  • Insulation: In northern cities, a container that holds heat will prolong the life of your plants in the fall, let you plant earlier in the spring, and give you a better shot at working over the winter with items like bulbs and conifers.

  • Weight: Imagine your container full of really wet mud. Is it too heavy for your balcony or rooftop? Will it be too heavy to move?

Visit the Container Gardens section in our store for more ideas for good containers.