Containers

Pots

A plant pot is perhaps the commonest piece of equipment that the gardener will need for propagation. By choosing only three or four sizes in the same pot range, tasks such as watering and day-to-day management become standardized and are thus easier.

Normally a pot is as deep as it is broad, but both three-quarter pots and half (or dwarf) pots—sometimes called pans—are available. At the other extreme particularly deep pots called "Long Toms" are obtainable. Select a container that holds only sufficient compost for the task in hand.

A vital consideration when choosing a pot is its capacity for drainage. It is not necessary to crock pots if a well-drained compost is used, but the base of the pot must contain adequate drainage holes; by the same token if a capillary watering system is used then there must be adequate holes for the moisture to rise up into the compost from the capillary medium, be it sand or matting. Only the pot shown below left has adequate drainage.

Square pots make better use of space than round ones as they can be fitted together exactly to cover an area without any waste of bench or ground space. They also generally contain a greater volume of compost relative to their surface area—a conventional 3j in diameter round pot only contains as much

compost' as a 2^ in square pot. However, square pots are a nuisance to fill as the gardener must be sure that the compost is pushed well into the corners.

Another major initial consideration is whether to use rigid or non-rigid containers. Pots with rims tend to be more rigid than those without, and they are easier to stack. For propagation there is no substitute for rigidity, although non-rigid containers such as black polythene sleeve pots may be used at the potting-on stage. The problem with non-rigid containers is that their tendency to sag makes them a nuisance to fill.

The material from which a pot is made is also important. Traditionally, pots were always made of clay, but considerations of cost, durability and weight (in that order) have now reduced their use. Nowadays most rigid pots are made of some form of plastics and these have the advantage of being cheap, lightweight and durable. Some plastic pots, however, become brittle in time with exposure to ultraviolet light. Polypropylene pots of heavy quality will generally provide best value.

Plastic pots are also easily washed and stored, whereas clay pots require soaking,

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