Planters open up a world of possibilities for container gardening and home decorating. Even if you have a green eye instead of a green thumb, you’ll love what a grouping of urns and pedestals can do as a backyard focal point or border of low-maintenance annuals. Our garden planter buying guide offers the tips you need to get started.
In small or sun-deficient yards, easy-to-transport outdoor planters can transform a patio or deck into an unexpected garden area. Indoors, windows and kitchens become flowerbeds and herb gardens with decorative boxes and wall baskets. Planters are great for ordinary gardens, too, improving water efficiency and giving you more control over soil and seedling conditions. Read on for our top buying tips and answers to common questions.
What’s the Best Outdoor Planter Material?
The answer depends on many factors, so we’ve broken down the pros & cons of seven popular planter types so you can choose the best material for your needs. Swipe through each type of yard planters to find your favorites.
Metal planters are perennial favorites as rustic or modern garden accents, including bronze, copper, cast iron, galvanized, and stainless steel designs featuring classic scrollwork, fluting, or decorative patinas. Rugged and durable, metal is a great choice for visual distinction. The downside of metal is its high thermal transference, which could result in overheating or frost damage. For better insulation, add an internal liner.
Cast stone and concrete garden planters tend to be large, heavy, and highly decorative, such as urns in classical, neoclassical, and other European styles. Costlier than other materials but highly durable (and wind-resistant!), these containers are excellent frost proof outdoor planters. But if you want a pop of bright color, look for something less earthy.
Affordable yet durable, resin is often used to imitate other materials such as stone or terracotta (some designs, such as Amadeo Design’s ResinStone™ planters, are remarkably stone-like, and come with a lifetime warranty). Resin’s much lighter than concrete and available in a wider range of shapes, styles, and colors (but remember: dark colors absorb more heat). Unlike natural materials such as unglazed clay, plastic isn’t porous, and is thus better at retaining water.
These planters feature an all-weather material that perfectly complements the sophisticated resin wicker furniture designs so popular in today’s patios and outdoor rooms. Choose resin wicker for a casual feel and a good choice for lightweight garden planters.
Ceramic stands out for its vibrant colors and exquisite decorative details. A bit more fragile than other materials, you’ll want to keep ceramic planters away from high traffic areas where they may get bumped by kids or pets.
Fiberglass planters are appreciated for insulating plants’ roots in cold weather and retaining moisture. They are also lightweight and easy to move. If you haven’t considered fiberglass planters, you may be surprised by the colors and shapes available.
What Size Planter is Best?
Planter size depends entirely on what you’re growing. In general, a bigger pot is better, especially during warmer months, when small planters can quickly dry out. A large garden planter will better retain moisture, and you can always add flowers if you have extra space. A planter that’s about two feet in diameter can accommodate a wide range of vegetable types. For herbs, stick with something closer to one foot in diameter.
Grouping is a great way to put your different-sized planters on display. Choose matching planter sets for a more cohesive look, or mix shapes, colors, and materials together for an eclectic botanical focal point. If you need to define a backyard space, try creating a row of planters as a pathway or border.
Which Planters are Best for Trees?
Unless you’re a practitioner of bonsai, you’ll need a planter with plenty of room for growth. Whether you intend to transplant your tree or you’re growing a smaller species, a good rule to follow is providing two cubic feet of growing space for every square foot of canopy size.
Live in an extra-dry climate or live an extra-busy life? Self-watering planters can help keep your plants looking lovely!
Which Planters are Best for Container Gardening?
Any and all planters can be used for container gardening, so long as they can hold soil and water and provide enough room for healthy root growth. You’ll find container gardening to be a serious time and resource saver, minimizing weeding, saving water, and making the most of your available space and sunlight (or shade). Container gardening with planters can also extend your growing season, no matter what hardiness zone you live in.
Planters are a great way to introduce greenery and pops of color into your outdoor living space. With so many types of planters available, there truly is something for everyone, no matter your level of gardening experience. From planter boxes to hanging planters and vertical gardens, check out today’s many planter styles and designs to grow your own beautiful oasis.