Container Gardening – How Do You Pick Your Planters?

It’s easy to get confused when shopping for planters or containers for your garden. Container gardening is not easy since there are many different types and a variety of materials to choose from and they have their own set of pros and cons to consider. So how do you make a decision? Well, there are a few points to consider such as price, Eco-friendliness, style, longevity and size. The material from which the planter is made tends to be the main element which influences such as decision so let’s have a look at a few options before exploring the subject any further.

Metal containers

One of the best things about metal planters is that they’re very durable and don’t chip, crack or break. This makes them really great for the garden. However, they provide little insulation and heat up rapidly so keep that in mind especially if you want to place them in direct sunlight. Most metal planters get more beautiful over time, aging with a nice patina. This makes them very attractive and wonderful decorations for the garden. Keep in mind, however, that metal is a non-porous material so drainage can be a problem in some cases.

Not all types of metals age gracefully. Some can rust over time but this doesn’t always makes them look badView in gallery
Not all types of metals age gracefully. Some can rust over time but this doesn’t always makes them look bad
If you plan on reorganizing your metal planters from time to time, make sure they’re not very heavyView in gallery
If you plan on reorganizing your metal planters from time to time, make sure they’re not very heavy
 These rusted steel planters have a really nice and elegant look, their patina contrasting with the décorView in gallery
These rusted steel planters have a really nice and elegant look, their patina contrasting with the décor
If you’re using planters near vegetable, avoid toxic lead as they can cause damageView in gallery
If you’re using planters near vegetable, avoid toxic lead as they can cause damage
Metal planters heat rapidly and cause the soil to dry. This can damage the roots of the plantsView in gallery
Metal planters heat rapidly and cause the soil to dry. This can damage the roots of the plants
Place metal container in shaded areas and use for drought-tolerant plant typesView in gallery
Place metal container in shaded areas and use for drought-tolerant plant types
Choose a type of metal with a color that complements the plants you want to put in the containerView in gallery
Choose a type of metal with a color that complements the plants you want to put in the container
Large metal containers can be used to create a terraced gardenView in gallery
Large metal containers can be used to create a terraced garden
You can have the planters custom-made in specific shapes or design them as flower bedsView in gallery
You can have the planters custom-made in specific shapes or design them as flower beds
There’s something very beautiful and intriguing about the combination of metal and greeneryView in gallery
There’s something very beautiful and intriguing about the combination of metal and greenery
Raised garden beds can be designed using metal containers for long-lasting beautyView in gallery
Raised garden beds can be designed using metal containers for long-lasting beauty
A set of metal planters can also add a nice touch to a terrace or balconyView in gallery
A set of metal planters can also add a nice touch to a terrace or balcony

Wood planters

There’s a great flexibility associated with wooden planters in general. They can be easily made to size and can either be store-bought or built at home. They provide good insulation and they’re quite cheap compared to other types. However, some pests mat take up residence inside so keep that in mind. You also need to be careful when watering the plants since too much moisture can cause the wood to rot. Lift up the planters from the ground to provide adequate drainage. Wooden planters withstand cold really well and are also durable and good-looking, often adding a nice rustic touch to the décor.

Wood is a good material for large garden projects because of its versatility and costView in gallery
Wood is a good material for large garden projects because of its versatility and cost
You can easily customize a wooden planter by either painting or staining itView in gallery
You can easily customize a wooden planter by either painting or staining it
Usually these containers need to be sealed for protection from the elementsView in gallery
Usually these containers need to be sealed for protection from the elements
Untreated wooden planters can lose their visual appeal and even rot in timeView in gallery
Untreated wooden planters can lose their visual appeal and even rot in time
 Some types of wood and naturally resistant to rot. They include redwood and cedarView in gallery
Some types of wood and naturally resistant to rot. They include redwood and cedar
Wooden barrel types planterView in gallery
Barrel-type planters can lose integrity because or rusted metal rings or nails
Wooden garden planters and flower beds help protect plants from heat and sunView in gallery
Wooden garden planters and flower beds help protect plants from heat and sun
There’s no need to paint the planter if it’s made from a rot-resistant woodView in gallery
There’s no need to paint the planter if it’s made from a rot-resistant wood
Use wooden planters to make a balcony look more inviting and comfortableView in gallery
Use wooden planters to make a balcony look more inviting and comfortable
 Wooden planters are available in a variety of timbers and colors and are all uniqueView in gallery
Wooden planters are available in a variety of timbers and colors and are all unique
Use wooden planters in combination with benches and other furniture made from the same materialView in gallery
Use wooden planters in combination with benches and other furniture made from the same material
You can also use large wooden planters to grow vegetables. Just make sure they’re food-safeView in gallery
You can also use large wooden planters to grow vegetables. Just make sure they’re food-safe
Mix and match various types of planters and materials for an eclectic lookView in gallery
Mix and match various types of planters and materials for an eclectic look

Stone and concrete containers

Natural stone planters and garden containers are always full of character. Stone and rocks always bring uniqueness to a design. Such planters provide great insulation and last for a very long time. Their solid bodies make them stand out in a simple and natural way. A lot of such planters are made from a combination of limestone and fiberglass for a more lightweight and waterproof construction. Stone containers can be quite expensive and sometimes cheaper alternatives become available, these being made of faux stone and more lightweight.

It’s easy to make your version of a stone planter by using concrete and a moldView in gallery
It’s easy to make your version of a stone planter by using concrete and a mold

 

A great thing about stone or concrete planters is that they stay cool during summerView in gallery
A great thing about stone or concrete planters is that they stay cool during summer

 

Planters made of real stone age beautifully and change in color over timeView in gallery
Planters made of real stone age beautifully and change in color over time

 

In some cases, concrete planters are designed as a built-in feature for benches and patiosView in gallery
In some cases, concrete planters are designed as a built-in feature for benches and patios

Terracotta pots

Even though they are very popular and probably the most commonly used type of planters, terracotta pots also come with a whole list of disadvantages. They don’t usually provide adequate drainage for the planters and they cheap and crack easily. They also retain heat for long periods of time which is not always beneficial for the plants. In addition, if you have the plants placed directly in a terracotta pot, it will most likely stain the planter. They absorb mineral salts from soil and water and this causes unaesthetic stains on the exterior. Even so, they are very affordable and really easy to customize using paint.

Since terracotta pots are so popular, you can find them in a wide variety of shapes and sizesView in gallery
Since terracotta pots are so popular, you can find them in a wide variety of shapes and sizes

 

Terracotta planters are usually heavy at the base and this helps them withstand windsView in gallery
Terracotta planters are usually heavy at the base and this helps them withstand winds

 

You can avoid dealing with stains by lining the interior of the planterView in gallery
You can avoid dealing with stains by lining the interior of the planter
Terracotta planters are very versatile and match well with lots of different decors and settingsView in gallery
Terracotta planters are very versatile and match well with lots of different decors and settings

Porcelain and other contemporary options

One of the problems with porcelain planters used outdoors is the fact that they can easily crack when the soil freezes or expands so keep that in mind especially if you’re living in a zone with cold weather. Porcelain planters, like the ones made of concrete or terracotta, draw moisture from the soil and dry out more quickly than other types. This means that the plants require more frequent watering. They can also require more maintenance than others. An advantage is the fact that they’re available in a large variety of colors and in lots of interesting shapes and sizes.

Porcelain planters are appreciated for the variety of designs they come inView in gallery
Porcelain planters are appreciated for the variety of designs they come in
A lot of modern and contemporary terraces feature oversized porcelain plantersView in gallery
A lot of modern and contemporary terraces feature oversized porcelain planters
Find a combination of colors that you like and use it to make a deck stand outView in gallery
Find a combination of colors that you like and use it to make a deck stand out
Porcelain planters can also feature interesting textures and formsView in gallery
Porcelain planters can also feature interesting textures and forms
Match the planters to the furniture or other design elements that define your garden or terraceView in gallery
Match the planters to the furniture or other design elements that define your garden or terrace
Oversized planters look nice in combination with spider plants or small treesView in gallery
Oversized planters look nice in combination with spider plants or small trees
Shrubs and bushes can be used to add privacy to a deck or to delimit a gardenView in gallery
Shrubs and bushes can be used to add privacy to a deck or to delimit a garden
A defining characteristic of contemporary planters is their minimalist lookView in gallery
A defining characteristic of contemporary planters is their minimalist look