Ask a Question forum: What size containers to use?

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Name: meera
san fernando - trinidad, west
Feb 28, 2018 7:06 PM CST
Every single site you search for what container size to use for a plant, they don't tell you and if they do then they only give circumference and not depth.
This should be standard and the page admins should consider this in the plant care guide section of the library.

Question: what depth pot / container would be appropriate for the following plants, please. I know its usually in ranges - so the least depth size information and I will work with that.

I have little to no soil on ground. Everything is concrete so I have pots, baskets, buckets [1 - 5 gallons] containers, fabric planters on walls etc.
I got some seeds but the guides to grow them say yess they can grow in containers just nowhere does it say what size of container.

Baby breath
Hibsicus - not graphed / not dwarf
Arabian Jasmine
Pinwheel Jasmine
Black Knight sweet pea
Lavender [munstead]

any information on growing these in containers, would be greatly appreciated.

Location: Trinidad, west indies.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Feb 28, 2018 9:37 PM CST

Welcome! To NGA

A rule of thumb is that the root mass will mirror the top growth. So, if you have a plant that is only going to grow 10" tall, you need a pot that with depth for a plant with 10" of root mass. If you have a plant that is going to grow 3' tall, you need a pot that can handle a root mass for a 3' plant. Rules of thumb are vague, but they do give you an idea on how to proceed.

For most plants, they seem to do better if you pot them up gradually. So if you are starting with a very young plant, you will use a smaller pot until the plant out-grows the pot. Then you pot it up to a larger container.

If you put the plant in too large of a container when it is young, the roots will grow out laterally and then down the sides of the container and the plant will never develop a good root mass.

In your plant list, there are several different cultivars of the plants listed. So, the ultimate size of the pot will be determined by the mature size of the plant you are potting up.

Sorry, I cannot be more specific.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: meera
san fernando - trinidad, west
Mar 1, 2018 6:15 AM CST
That's.......of little help.......thanks though...........*sigh*.

the rule of thumb works but at the same time it doesn't.

if your plant has tap roots instead of the radiating ones, then even if the plant is short a deep container is needed. for example shadow benny aka long coriander aka culantro.

some plants have shallow roots despite their height, for example frangipani, grows to about a few feet, but it has shallow roots, which is why during a windy storm, you sometimes see them up rooted.
thus a 5 gallon bucket would work for them.

the rule of my opinion......doesn't exactly work, especially when starting from a small plant, transplanted into a big container.
I have ixora in 5 gallon buckets, but I worry if the container is too big.
I have lavender seeds and containers but don't know what depth is preferable.

i think I might have to search for the root system, use some maths and discretion and figure it out. Crossing Fingers!

thanks though for the info. Thank You!
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Mar 1, 2018 8:02 AM CST
You can add to your list of variables that some plants don't mind being root bound, while others resent having their roots crowded.

Some plants need lighter soil, while others need denser soil.

Every plant is different. You learn as you go along and listen to the plant. They usually tell you what they need.

Good luck with your plants.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: meera
san fernando - trinidad, west
Mar 1, 2018 9:14 AM CST
I can't afford to learn as I go, because the soil is expensive, space limited, containers expensive so I try to make my own, from those bottle walls to paint buckets.....and the plants are ridiculously expensive.
I pay 65 for a seedling, only to plant it to find the container too small and I lose out and my poor, at no fault, plant dies.

I need all the luck I can get, so thank you very much. Thank You!

I think I am going to create a thread for this, so the information I gather, I can share with others. Any advice on which section of the forum to create the thread or use my discretion?
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Mar 1, 2018 9:53 AM CST
May be good questions for these two Forums:

Container Gardening Forum:
All Things Gardening Forum:
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~

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