Best type of pots for patio?

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I'm a man and a bachelor... so not a lot of knowledge of plants and gardening
I have a small patio id like to 'class up" a bit by using pots and plants
Question...many types of post to chose from. What is best type and material for low maint pots and plants?
I'm thinking HARD plastic over the softer foam pots, right?
I would also move these pots INSIDE my house in winter and grow low care plants in winter as well. Peace Lily's?
Anyway....advice on pots please?
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Pot rules:
1) Big pots dry out faster than small pots. A 12" high pot will dry out completely in the sun in about 4 hours. Know thyself. If you're gone at work for 8 hours a day, many of your plants will suffer in small pots, so buy the biggest you can manage. Up to your knees is about right, and keep them watered.
2) Most plants want their roots cooler than their tops. Even if the pots did NOT dry out, they still get quite warm. So, again, bigger is better, and light colors are better than dark colors. Try and group the pots to shade some of them, even if it means sticking a patio chair in front of the pots on the warmest days.
3) Red clay pots look great, but they're porous, so they dry out more quickly than materials like plastic. It's not always easy to find plastic pots that don't look tacky. One nice alternative is the half barrels sold at garden centers. They're big & unmanageable, and you wouldn't want them in the house. Buy smaller pots to use only in the house.
4) Styrofoam: You're right. Forget it. Besides looking lousy, they get damaged by garden tools.
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Holy smokes! What did I say???? :-) Big pots dry out MORE SLOWLY than small ones! Gotta stop doing 23 things at once here.
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Also want pots that drain, otherwise they can get full of rain water. I use plastic with holes in bottom that sit on a pot base.
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The pots should also be round, square, or some other shape. I have documentation to prove this.
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I know it's silly but my wife keeps buying plastic pots for outside and they do not drain. I have to drill holes in them to keep plants from drowning ;) Frank
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I know what you mean. Whoever designs those things should be severely punished. Matter of fact, so should the knuckleheads who decide to stock them in their stores. I can understand Home Despot being clueless, but not real garden centers, and I see those pots there, too.
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Perhaps such pots should be considered as being intended for indoor use where the amount of water they get can be strictly controlled. It's a bit trickier than using pots with drainage holes and saucers but it certainly can be done.
Jim
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Even indoor plants sometimes need their soil flushed heavily to dilute mineral buildup. That's why drainage holes are still a good idea for them.
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I don't like plastic pots either. Even though terra cotta pots are porous, I think they look so much nicer and more natural. One of the things I do, is to buy the matching terra cotta saucers for my pots. This allows for a little water reservoir at the bottom. . .But you probably already realize that!
Sacramento gets quite hot on some days in the summer. . .but for the most part, the terra cotta pots have worked just fine.
Myrl Jeffcoat http://www.myrljeffcoat.com
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They work for you because they happen to be large enough to work with your plants, the soil you're using in them, and the length of time during which you can't be there to tend to them. This is why telling new gardeners anything really specific isn't really possible. Just "go bigger". :-)
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Yep!. . .The "go bigger" advice is definitely sage. I have an area near a gazebo that I try to keep most of my potted plants. They are blessed with the right about of sun exposure, etc. I also have an automatic sprinkler system that waters them for me - even if I'm gone a few days!
Myrl http://www.myrljeffcoat.com
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While drainage holes are generally needed there are plants where this really isn't a concern. For example, I have on a number of occasions inadvertently attempted to drown impatiens in pots without drainage holes. Never succeeded.
Jim
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Huge pots can become interesting to move after a heavy rain if there are no drain holes.
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Good word, "interesting". :-)
Jim
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Don't forget that if you want to take these plants indoors in the fall you'll need to provide them with saucers to catch extra water. Aesthetically then you'll probably want to buy matching pots and saucers at the same time even if you're not using the saucers outdoors.
Jim
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Whenever I use pot on the balcony it jazzes things up too .
Nothing beats the look of terra cotta. The downside is they can split in winter or spall. The evaporation issue can be dealt with by warming the pots and melting parafin (canning wax) Most bagged potting mixes are awful and could benefit by the addition of an equal amount of sharp sand or if you want to keep the weight down, pearlite. Keep the soil an inch below the rim so you can water in a hurry and make sure you don't leave the pots sitting in water.
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actually, the easiest is to not drag outside plants inside. the reason is the outside plants collect bugs and inside conditions usually the pests have population explosion. plants that adapt to high light levels outside dont do well when brought inside either (ficus for example). so...... get hard plastic in colors that please you. larger is better, but in smaller pots you can get "super slurp" crystals that hold water, or, high absorbent baby diapers to put on the bottom to hold water for the roots .. strip the plastic off.
nice looking pots have 3 layers, something low vining to drape over the edge, get something mounding in the middle, and something tall for the middle or the back edge.
get drought resistant plants, they usually have grayish green, powdery color, fuzzy leaves, thick leaves. but certainly ask where you buy the plants. also get perennials and plants hardy to at least one zone colder than where you live.
I am not done with this page but.... http://weloveteaching.com/landscape/frntyd/fyplanter.htm the perennial alyssum, aster, hardy small roses, holly and heather survive year to year in zone 5. Ingrid
snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List at http://weloveteaching.com/puregold / sign up: http://groups.google.com/groups/dir?hl=en&q=puregold&qt_s=Group+lookup www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I receive no compensation for running the Puregold list or Puregold website. I do not run nor receive any money from the ads at the old Puregold site. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Zone 5 next to Lake Michigan
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snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:

My dwarf citrus was in 18-inch redwood tubs. Since these can leak from the sides, they are definitely not for putting in the house unless you put some kind of tray underneath.
Having to replace the tubs twice already for my dwarf lemon, I am replacing them with terracotta pots (22 inches across at the top, 17 inches at the bottom). Both the redwood and terracotta breathe through their sides. This keeps them cool in the summer sun so the roots don't cook. The soil in a plastic pot can get quite hot after only an hour in the sun, much hotter than the air temperature.
One thing to consider is a clay or plain plastic pot within a jardinire (a decorative ceramic outer pot). Allow at least a 1-inch space all around the sides between the inner and outer pots. Some people fill this space with coarse sphagnum moss. Also place about an inch of pea gravel at the bottom so that water can drain from the inner pot.
If the jardinire is properly glazed, you can bring the combination into your home and set it on the floor without risking damage from moisture. Use a cart, dolly, or hand-truck to move it. There are also wheeled platforms made for holding large pots.
--

David E. Ross
<http://www.rossde.com/
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snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:>

You could get some Self-Watering Rolling Planters. I think they would be perfect for you and fit many of the requirements mentioned by the others. here is a link: http://www.gardeners.com/Self-Watering-Rolling-Planter/default/StandardCatalog.IndoorPlants_SelfWatering.12773.cpd
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