Urns give the gardener an unique opportunity to adorn the garden. They can be used alone like a statue, in pairs to create symmetry and formality, or filled with flowers to add texture and a splash of color to an area. They come in many shapes, sizes, colors, and textures so can be used in many different ways depending on the nature of the garden and preferences of the gardener.

When selecting an urn there are several factors to consider.

Presence of drainage hole: Very few plants will grow with wet feet so drainage is essential for good growth. Check before buyng and if no drain hole is evident consider the problems associated with making one. It is easy to put a drain hole in a resin pot, harder in terra cotta, and even more difficult in concrete or stone. If a drainage hole is not a possibility, use an insert containing the plant that can be removed, watered, and then replaced. Alternatively, use the urn as a piece of sculpture.

Size: The size of the urn depends first on the size of the garden space allocated to it and second on the plants you wish to grow in it. Keep in mind that although urns often look large they often are not, especially around the sides where they are very shallow. In addition, most plants you put in the urn are going to grow both on the top where you want it and below the soil level, where you might not. Consider the size of the root ball and assume it will grow about in inch in all directions.

Accessories: An urn can be shown off to best advantage by placing it on a base. This base can be a simple low stone or concrete plinth or a raised pedestal. Both plinths and pedestals vary in size, color, ornamentation, finish, and material.

Urns are large, decorative vases and usually have an ornamental foot or pedestal. There are many different kinds of urns so choosing the right one depends on several factors. To illustrate the variable encountered when buying an urn I am using pictures from Amazon.com because they have so many urns available. If you wish to investigate the urn further just clicks on the image.

If you garden is more informal, perhaps in the cottage garden style, you might like to consider one such as this which some might consider simply a pot. The shape and decorative handles, however, give it the character of an urn.

Or highly embellished.

Material: Urns come in a variety of materials including plastic, metal (caste iron, lead) terra cotta, resin, concrete, and stone. The kind of material influences cost, durability, weight and frequency of watering. Plastic urns require the least watering and is the cheapest and lightest but is usually the least durable. Plants that need dry conditions are not happy in plastic for very long. Caste iron and lead urns are heaviest but most expensive, but are also the most durable. Terra cotta is in between plastic and the metal urns for cost, weight, and durability, but require constant attention to watering because it is very porous and evaporation is high. Concrete and stone are very heavy and very durable but concrete can be much less expensive than most of the other kinds of pots.

Finish: When you buy a plastic, resin, or concrete pot you may have a choice of finishes including color, textures, and aging. Here’s a simple urn with a brown crackle weathered finish.

Container Gardening PointerIf you decide you want an urn in your garden shop around. Size, color, style, material, and cost vary enormously. There are so many different kinds of urns there is bound to be the perfect one for every garden. Begin by deciding where you would like to place an urn for best effect, then look for the urn that meets all your needs.

By Karen