In case you have not noticed, pots are in a creative period. Old materials are out. Space-age stuff is in. Big plus: Some pots solve the ancient bugaboos of wind damage and when to water.

Yet another item for your winter to-do list: Your planting pots. Check out the new ones and consider plant cradles if yours are exposed to the wind.


In case you haven't noticed, pots are in a creative period. Old materials are out. Space-age stuff is in. Big plus: Some pots solve the ancient bugaboos of wind damage and when to water.


The emphasis is on weight and style, a welcome relief from the usual plastic or terra-cotta pot. New pots are arriving made of polymers, fiberglass and recycled materials.


Pot interest has increased exponentially as decorating of decks and patios increases, plus there’s the big switch to container gardening. The result is the breakable, heavy stuff is being pushed out by the new, lightweight gear. And more are coming.


This year you will find containers made of thin layers of copper, bronze or cast iron over fiberglass shells. The pots weather nicely and are identical to their heavy-weight cousins.


Hybrid containers feature sculpted designs, some replicating ancient ones. Others offer  modernistic themes, very much an art form. Never before has there been such a vast selection of pots.


Lightweight materials allow for the size of pots to increase. This season, look for new takes on the classic columnar pot. These tallboys will save your back and give impact to smaller plants.


The real heart-stopper, if I can be so bold, is the self-irrigating pots. The label says “sub irrigating.” The pots contain a water reservoir in the bottom which is sucked up by the planting soil to the roots. It’s osmosis, and it constantly offers water, resulting in better plants. This eliminates daily watering and, big plus, releases little or no water onto the deck or patio. Say goodbye to pot staining.


Sub-irrigated hanging pots are arriving that solve the problem of reaching a high-hanging plant.


Intense sunlight degrades many of the materials used in these pots. That can be solved by coatings. Be sure to check the pot label for UV-light protection. As with most pots, these guys should go indoors or into the garage during winter. This extends their life and prevents breakage by frozen soil.


Pots inside of a pot are becoming popular. Fill your large pot three-fourths with soil. Arrange potted plants on the top, and fill soil between them. This eliminates the shock of transplanting. Make sure your smaller pots have drainage holes.


If your pot is exposed to high wind or rollicking kids, consider a pot cradle. These provide stability. They are made in heavy terra cotta in various sizes. Cradles are an old-fashioned solution almost forgotten. Then container-gardening outdoors became popular, and they’re back. Be sure to get ones heavy enough to support a plant under most conditions.


Jim Hillibish writes for The Repository in Canton, Ohio. Contact him at jim.hillibish@cantonrep.com.