So, you are looking at growing basil but you want to be absolutely sure that you are going to do so in the correct pots and we have to congratulate you on being willing to put in the effort to make sure that you are doing everything possible that will ultimately lead to a strong and healthy plant.
Well, one thing that you should know is that choosing the correct containers is going to involve you thinking about more things than you were perhaps aware, but it is undoubtedly worth putting in the effort just to make sure that you do indeed get the kind of herb that you can be proud of.
Where do you begin with choosing the pot? Well, these tips will make life a lot easier.
Tip 1: The Drainage.
First, we have to think about drainage as this is absolutely essential because basil can only grow successfully in soil that is free draining so the container must have adequate drainage holes in the base to allow the water to flow through. Anything else then the roots will become saturated and rot leading to the death of the plant.
Tip 2: The Porosity.
You must also think about the porosity of the container as this has a direct impact on the soil around the roots. Natural materials such as unglazed clay or wood allow more air to circulate through the soil and also keep the soil cooler although you then have to water the basil more often. However, glazed clay, metal, or plastic pots are not as porous and because of this it does hold onto the water for longer but less air means that the roots can also run into difficulties.
Tip 3: Materials.
There are different materials to choose from and it is entirely up to you as to which one you prefer. Terra cotta is an all-time favorite but you have to think about the weight of the entire pot when it is filled with soil and if you are then able to move it around. You should also think about the way in which the material holds onto moisture as this also has an impact on the way in which the basil will grow. As stated earlier, you are looking at choosing from clay, wood, metal, plastic, and glazed clay so there are options out there.
Tip 4: The Container Type.
The type of container is going to vary depending on size, cost, and what you are looking for. We have already covered the different materials but think about where it is going to be located and what looks best. As was mentioned with the porosity and material it does have an impact on the way in which the basil can then grow.
Tip 5: The Shape.
Believe it or not but the shape is also going to make a difference. Pots that are round, rectangular, or square require less watering whereas tapered pots where they slope to the bottom require more. This is because of the way in which the soil is distributed and straight sided pots also allow the roots to grow better.
Tip 6: The Size.
The size of the pot also has a role to play. They need to be large enough to allow the roots to grow and the larger the pot then the more soil and the more resilient the plants. Also, if there is more soil then there is less need for watering the plants.
Tip 7: The Weight.
Some consideration has to go into the actual weight of the pot and it is not just when it is empty since you have to be able to move the pot when it is full of soil and is being watered. Clearly certain materials are going to be heavier with glazed ceramic, cement, and clay being the heaviest and plastic being the lightest. Think about where it is going and how often you have to move it around.
Tip 8: Improvised Pots.
You do not have to go down the normal route with pots as it is easy to improvise if you are clever enough. This is where your imagination can really come to the fore as you can easily use anything that is a potential container and capable of holding soil. Think of old buckets or even wooden boxes as the main thing is to go ahead and add those drainage holes.
Tip 9: Whimsical Pots.
Whimsical can be cool and it is not something that should be ignored. Think about old wellington boots or even an old metal teapot that could be adapted. The idea of it being whimsical is that it can then really stand out as being completely different to the norm.
Tip 10: Maintenance.
Maintaining the pot is also something that you need to take into consideration. For example, wooden containers have to be treated so that they do not rot or allow water to seep through but at the same time they cannot be treated with chemicals as that gets into the soil and then the roots. Clay pots need to be cleaned and some people recommend soaking the Terra cotta first or else it is going to soak up the water all on its own. Prior to using them, you need to wash the pots to remove any disease or bacteria as that can then get into the soil and cause problems.
Tip 11: Durability.
The actual durability of the pot is going to depend on the material that it is made from as it stands to reason that certain materials are capable of withstanding a lot more punishment than others. For example, clay pots that are unglazed are going to be prone to being quite fragile if dropped and if they are outside in colder temperatures then frost is going to potentially crack them. Also, plastic pots are seen as being more flimsy so they can easily split or break if the soil and the plant itself is too heavy. Also, resin pots can lose their color over time as can plastic pots so if you plan on reusing them time and time again, then they may not look as vibrant as they once were.
Tip 12: Their Insulation Properties.
You have to remember that roots are not that good at handling different temperatures and it is the temperature of the soil surrounding them that they are going to feed off. The actual temperature of the soil is going to be determined not only by the weather but also the material that the container is made from. Those materials, such as clay and wood, that are more porous in nature allow more air to flow through the material and as a result the soil will be kept cooler.
However, plastic and resin will be more insulated as they are less porous so there is less air going to get into the soil keeping the roots warmer. Think about where they are going and what the temperatures are going to be like before deciding on the container.
Tip 13: Their Portability.
One of the best things about growing something in pots is that you can move them around to new locations without upsetting the plant and having to dig it up and move it that way. However, if you are planning on moving the pots around then you need to think about how portable the container is going to be before you go ahead and purchase it.
For example, plastic is lightweight so even when the soil is in there it is going to be easier to move it around and the same goes for resin. However, Terra cotta, glazed ceramic, stone, and cement pots are obviously going to be heavier as their base material weighs considerably more. You need to think about the size of the pot and be aware of how much soil is going to be inside it to then calculate the total weight when it is full. Are you then going to be able to move it around so easily?
Tip 14: The Product Life.
The length of time that you can expect your container to last is going to depend on the material and if you are going to be serious about growing herbs over an extended period of time, then you might want to be aware of how long you can expect them to survive. Flimsy plastic pots have a tendency to split when you are trying to empty them and that is one thing that you want to avoid. We have also noted how the color can change over time with certain materials. Also, the better quality materials and pots will generally last longer thanks to them being manufactured to a higher standard.
Tip 15: The Environmental Impact.
Now, this may not be something that you have largely thought of but you should give some consideration to the environmental impact that they have had in their manufacturing and also how the container itself is made. Is it made from sustainable materials? Wood is going to have a lower environmental impact compared to plastic as the manufacturing process is going to be more damaging to the environment thanks to the chemicals being used. Clay is also less of a problem than plastic and you should go for unglazed ceramic as the glazing process is also damaging.
Tip 16: The Time and Energy.
So, what do we mean by time and energy? Well, if you do not have the time or the ability to do so then you should purchase a container as it is so easy to do. However, if you have the time and energy then you should look at making your own container or adopting another potential pot by adding drainage holes.
Tip 17: Pros & Cons.
Weighing up the different pros and cons of a container before you buy it is just common sense. How easy is it to move? How long will it last? How does the color affect the plant? What about the size? You need to look at a container from this particular perspective rather than just choosing something that looks nice due to the influence it has on the development of the plant itself.
Tip 18: Buying Local.
Here is a handy tip, buy the container locally so you can actually go and see it and perhaps even talk to somebody at the store for their advice. Look at the size, find out how much soil goes into it and if there is a problem then at least you can return it without losing out.
Tip 19: The Financial Cost.
Finally, you have to think about the financial cost of buying the container because clearly different materials come at different prices. Plastic is the cheapest followed by resin and then glazed ceramic pots and Terra cotta are at the higher end of the market. You should look at your budget and try to choose a pot that is at the top of your budget and get the best quality container for your money.
As you can see, there are a number of important points to keep in mind when you are looking at buying a container in which you plan on growing basil. There is so much more to it than just choosing one that appeals to you because of its design or size as you have to think about where it is going to be situated and also the number of times that it has to be moved.
Furthermore, the shape and color are going to play a role in the way in which the conditions affect the soil and, as a result, has an impact on the development of the plant. If you are serious about growing basil to the best of your ability, then think about the container where it will spend its life and make the correct decision from the outset.