You don’t need a garden to grow food or flowers. And even if you’ve got one, planters are often preferable. “With a backyard, you have to take into account so many things about your soil: clay, rocks, drainage,” says Huffington Post food and garden blogger Kerry Trueman. “Container gardening is the ultimate way to go. You can move pots around, plant things next to one another that have different needs, and create the perfect soil for each.”
A perfect home planter has a hole in the bottom for drainage, weathers well so it can be placed either indoors or out, and is lightweight enough to be mobile—–or kept on your roof or balcony without it collapsing. Food Map Design’s Food Map Container looks a bit like a bathtub but is an ideal pot. Its recycled-plastic basin features a contoured drainage system built into the bottom and sits on a metal-tubing frame and locking rubber casters, which makes moving it a breeze. Though the jury is still out on whether planting in plastic can be harmful to one’s health, Trueman recommends the material, which is also used in the Sahara 5 by Gandia Blasco and 18" Square by Loll Design, as it is often recycled and recyclable, lightweight, and lower in cost than metal or ceramic.
A missing key feature like a drainage hole, however, shouldn’t automatically eliminate a planter from your list of possibilities. Woolly Pocket’s Ridge is made of breathable fabric that wicks the water out of its sides and base, and the 18" Square joinery allows for water to escape through its edges.
For planters that steal your heart based on their aesthetics but lack a drainage system—–like the mid-century-modern-styled TH-4 by Architectural Pottery and Pod by Pad Outdoors—–Trueman suggests layering the base with packing peanuts. “It’s one of the few good uses for Styrofoam,” she says. The airy bottom layer will let water drain out of the soil, preventing root rot, and reduce the total weight.
So whether you live on a farm or in a 400-square-foot apartment, the question is no longer if you should plant, but which planter to pick.