I’m an apart­ment dweller, but I have a bal­cony that I’d love to fill with plants. What are the best containers for me?

Do It Yourself - - DIY Q&A -

DEAR READER,

Pick­ing the perfect con­tainer is harder than ever be­cause you have so many choices in ma­te­ri­als, sizes, and col­ors. You’re smart to con­sider the lo­ca­tion

(your bal­cony) be­fore you in­vest in any con­tainer.

Use this guide and a few tips to find the best fit.

1. RE­CY­CLED/UP­CY­CLED

It’s perfect for… Ex­press­ing your cre­ativ­ity and re­gard for Mother Earth. Know be­fore you buy... Re­pur­posed containers usu­ally re­quire you to add drainage holes; in­vest in the right bits to drill through un­con­ven­tional ma­te­ri­als.

2. PLASTIC/COM­POS­ITE

It’s perfect for… Try­ing lots of sizes, col­ors, and styles, as well as flex­i­bil­ity, thanks to its light weight. Bonus: Some can be left out dur­ing win­ter. Know be­fore you buy... In­vest in durably con­structed op­tions so you gain longevity. Be­cause of their light weight, they can tip eas­ily. Newer mod­u­lar op­tions are great for apart­ment dwellers who want to go ver­ti­cal and grow a lot.

3. METAL

It’s perfect for… Find­ing just the right style op­tion, from sleek to rus­tic. Know be­fore you buy... Plants can get su­per warm, es­pe­cially in dark-color metal containers.

4. POT­TERY

It’s perfect for… Dis­cov­er­ing a gor­geous color. Know be­fore you buy... Freeze-thaw cy­cles lead to cracks, so pot­tery containers must be over­win­tered in a pro­tected lo­ca­tion.

5. TERRA-COTTA/CLAY

It’s perfect for… Gen­eral pur­pose—nearly ev­ery­thing and ev­ery­where. Know be­fore you buy... It’s a water hog, so if the lo­ca­tion gets lots of sun, watch so plants don’t dry out. Heavy and break­able, terra-cotta shouldn’t be left out in win­ter.

6. CON­CRETE AND STONE

It’s perfect for… Longevity and dis­tinc­tive tex­ture as well as lots of style op­tions. Know be­fore you buy... It’s heavy and dif­fi­cult to move; con­sider plac­ing on cast­ers or in a spot where you can plant it and leave it.

7. WIRE

It’s perfect for… A tex­ture-rich ap­proach to plant­ing as well as dis­tinc­tive shapes. Know be­fore you buy... Th­ese must be lined with an­other ma­te­rial to hold in soil and plants, which means they dry out eas­ily.

8. WOOD

It’s perfect for… That just-right nat­u­ral look. Know be­fore you buy... Only un­treated wood is safe for grow­ing ed­i­bles.

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