Flower Pots – A History
Flower pots have had various uses over time: moving plants to new locations — sometimes great distances, starting seeds, patio gardening, cultivation of indoor plants, and often for year-round growth in very cold climates, which usually have a short growing season. During the 18th century Josiah Wedgwood manufactured flower pots that were as gorgeous as his China dinnerware; they were often chosen as table centerpieces.
Flower pots were historically made from terra cotta; coarse, porous clay fired in a kiln and used mainly for vases, roofing and architectural purposes. Known and made use of from as early as 3,000 B.C., terra cotta died out when the Roman Empire collapsed; it was revived in Italy and Germany in the 1400’s and remains popular to this day. Clay pots are commonly used for both house plants and outdoor plants; the unglazed clay allows air and moisture to penetrate the pot; they also act as a wick to take excess moisture from the soil, possibly preventing root rot and improving plant health care. They are an excellent choice for Roses, African Violets, Succulent plants, tropical plants (including Palm Plants), and there are even special terra cotta flower pots made for Orchid care.
Alternative Flower Pots
Presently we have commercial flower pots made of many materials such as plastic, wood, stone, and biodegradable materials. Recycling plastic food containers or tin cans by pounding drainage holes in the bottom with a hammer and nail also gives us flower pots.
During difficult financial periods we have often used tin cans for flower pots; you can decorate them by painting or gluing on tiny objects or just wrap with foil or pretty paper and tie a bow – voila! – beautiful and unique! Other ideas for flower pots, planters or just as garden ornaments include baskets, pails, coffee/tea pots, tea kettles, tubs or mailboxes – just stretch your imagination and use whatever fits in with your indoor, yard, patio or garden design.
Hanging planters are great for Spider Plants and similar types of houseplants, but they need to be placed where heads won’t be bumped; hanging them on fence panels adds a nice touch and they can usually be seen before you crack your skull! Hanging planters are also a good idea for poisonous plants because they can be kept out of reach of children and pets.
Flower pots usually have a hole in the bottom for drainage; sometimes there is a saucer placed beneath the pot to catch the water – often plants can use this water by taking it up through the root system. There are plants however, that should not be saturated and many that should not have water remain in the saucer even if they can be saturated – know the watering instructions for each plant you plan to grow.
More recently flower pots have been designed with an automatic watering system and their own reservoir for water storage, this innovation is particularly convenient if you must be away from home. Some Indoor plant stands, like the one in Figure 6, hold an assortment of flower pots and are self watering.
Container gardening is as old as Rome, with the boxes also made of terra cotta. In the first century B.C most Romans cultivated their small cottage gardens to provide food, medicinal herbs, and flowers.
Peasants had little if any gardening space and began to grow the plants they needed in window boxes. Eventually they were so popular that the rich upper classes began to develop balcony and rooftop gardens – elaborate with vines, shrubs, flowers and even fishponds.
The window boxes kept their popularity and spread to Europe and later to America. English cottage gardens boasted wire hay baskets as a new form to grow plants in at the windows; France often used wrought iron window boxes like the one pictured in Figure 7.
Original garden ideas can be checked for appropriate lighting, watering, fertilizing and aesthetic appeal at your local garden center. If you need fresh opinions or just suggestions also look through books at the library or search online. If you don’t have a gardeners’ supply center nearby, Amazon.com is an excellent source of books for garden ideas but also offers: tools, soil, fertilizers, herbicide/pesticide sprays, gloves, flower pots, fence panels, planter boxes, garden ornaments, plant pots, and window boxes along with the seeds or growing plants – and almost anything else you could need.
Sources and Citations
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terracotta – research source
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flowerpot – research source
http://www.bloomingbaskets.ie/index.php/the-history-of-window-boxes – research source
https://www.google.com/#q=picture+of+window+boxes%3F – research source