container pots of annuals and perennials, red and yellow blossoms
Photo: Janet Laughrrey
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Choosing a Container

A good pot is not only decorative, it protects a plant's roots from wind and heat and helps keep them moist, making containers a great way to extend your growing season.

Terra-cotta drains well and allows roots to breathe. Unfortunately, its natural porosity makes it dry out quickly in the summer and freeze—and crack—in the winter if left outside. "I love the look of terra-cotta," says Roger, "but it can be high-maintenance."

Glazed ceramic and cast-concrete pots are less finicky. These containers retain water longer than terra-cotta, endure freezing winter temperatures, and come in a wide variety of colors and textures. However, they are heavy, a factor to consider if you like to shuffle the garden around occasionally.

Box and half-barrel containers made from naturally rot-resistant redwood or cedar lend a nice rustic touch but are as cumbersome as concrete and not as durable.

Related: How to Place Pots

Shown: A container garden of sun-loving annuals and perennials yields a riot of color and texture. Red and yellow blossoms are set off by foliage that ranges from pale green to deep burgundy.
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