Networx: Best plants to grow in pots

Laura Firszt More Content Now
Whatever your situation, finding the right plants and pots can give you a lush look indoors or outdoors. [Krosseel/morgueFile]

There are all sorts of great reasons to grow plants in pots. You might live in a condo or townhouse with limited outdoor space. Perhaps the soil quality in your yard is poor. Or you may love the lush look of potted plants clustered around your patio or outdoor living room. Whatever your situation, find out more about the best plants to grow in pots — and the best pots to grow plants in.

Best plants to grow in pots: General tips

— The best plants for potting are those without a deep root system. Look for dwarf species or compact specimens that tend to grow upward rather than spreading outward.

— Combine an assortment of plants in one oversize pot (or several smaller ones of different heights) for the most attractive effect. Find out what your chosen species want to do — for instance droop, clump, or climb — and mix and match accordingly.

Types of plants to grow in pots

Flowers. Go for maximum beauty, minimum maintenance. Flowers that are perennials in tropical climes (or invasive) tend to be hardy — perfect for your purpose. If you’re a newbie (or even if not), geraniums are the no. 1 flower for potting. Not only do these hardy blooms thrive in containers, they provide a gorgeous array of color, delicate white to deep scarlet. Bring your potted geranium inside before the first frost, place in a sunny window, and it can live for years.

Fruit trees. Yes, fruit trees. They add so much to even a small outdoor space — good looks and with the right TLC, good eating too. Dwarf varieties are best for the confines of a pot. Check whether the fruit tree is self-fertile (such as citrus, peaches, and apricots — best if you only have room for one) or needs a partner for pollination (like apples and pears).

Best pots to grow plants in

Drainage. Whatever your container, ensure you have adequate drainage. Drill holes in the bottom, if necessary. Safeguard your floor, windowsill, etc., against the resulting runoff and condensation so it won’t stain — or rot, in the case of a wooden deck. A saucer under the pot is a good start (TIP: water into the saucer, not the pot itself, for better absorption), but terracotta "pot feet" add an extra layer of protection.