Garden geeks focus primarily on plants, and with good reason. The plant is where the action is…where growth and life exists. We’re willing to acknowledge, however, that the environment where that plant grows is equally important. The soil, moisture, and all the intertwined biology and wildlife matter to that plant’s ability to survive and grow.
Tonight I gathered up the materials to pot three Amaryllis bulbs. I had a bag of Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix and some large, fat bulbs…all I needed was the pots. As I poked around the garden shed I thought about the importance of choosing the perfect container.
The size has to be right…it would be silly to put these large bulbs in a pot that will suppress or constrain their root systems. On the other hand the container shouldn’t be too big either…an excess of soil will keep the bulb’s environment too moist and that could lead to rot.
Similarly, the pot needs to have a drainage hole. You could choose the most attractive container in your shed but if it doesn’t provide a way for the excess water to drain it’s useless. (And no, a layer of rocks at the bottom doesn’t do the same thing. Rocks or pot chards just provide a nutrient-poor but water soaked environment for the roots that will inevitably end up there. Don’t do it.)
So the right size and a drainage hole come first…after these we can consider how the pot looks. Most gardeners will agree that this is equal to the container’s function. A beautiful plant deserves an attractive pot. Tonight I chose some soft green containers that will compliment the pink and red flowers.
Once the demands of purpose are met we’re free to make decisions based on aesthetics and what speaks to our hearts and souls.