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Fiberglass, metal, concrete, clay: It can be a hard chore for a gardener to choose a container. We have broken everything down to the basics, to help you make the best choice with our flower planters guide for gardeners.
Whether you need a large container for holding a dwarf shrub permanently or a small spot for your tabletop annuals, there is a container that will suit your needs. Get hold of an outdoor planter guidebook. Until then our guide will help you choose the best container for your perennial or annual flowers as well as your blooming shrubs.
What it is made from: Terra-cotta is baked earth. Although a majority of terra-cotta planters that you see is that classic orange-red color, there are other shades that they are available in, including off-white, pink, brown, and beige, depending on the type of clay that is used for making them. Terra-cotta planters can be either glazed or unglazed, with glazed ones being either colored with paint. Terra-cotta is quite heavy, meaning that the pots are stable and able to stand up during windy days. Their heft makes them harder to move, especially larger planters.
When it works: What terra-cotta is good for is circulating the water and air through the soil, but it dries out fast as well in wind or sun. Terra-cotta is pretty budget-friendly, depending on the type and size.
Outdoor life: High temperatures are used to fire terra-cotta planters that last much longer compared to low-fire planters. They are more resistant to getting scratched and not as likely to produce clay dust. But freezing temperatures may cause terra-cotta planters to flake, crack, or chip. so they have to brought inside during the winter. In order to prevent the spread of organisms and bacterial, terra-cotta planters need to be emptied, cleaned, and scrubbed with a solution of bleach and water (10 parts water, 1 part bleach).
What it is made from: Pine, cypress, cedar, redwood, or other softwoods are common choices.
When it works: Wood planters, like terra-cotta planters, easily circulate air and water and need to be watered frequently. Wood is not that heavy or expensive, depending on how large the planter is.
Outdoor life: The cold does not damage wood, but if it isn’t treated, then the wood will be susceptible to rot. A product should be used that doesn’t contain pentachlorophenol. You can use either a clear or tinted treatment. Pressure-treated wood may be used as well, as long as you do not grow edibles in the containers. In order to extend a wood planter’s life, line it with galvanized metal or plastic, with holes punched in the bottom.
Fiberglass and Plastic Planters
What it is made from: The containers are variously called cast, fiberglass, extruded, resin, or plastic, depending on what is used to manufacture them.
When it works: There is plastic available in almost every color and style imaginable, which imitates other kinds of planter materials. At times, it may be a fraction of the price of the other materials. It is very lightweight, which makes it nearly nonporous, easy to move, and allow it to much better retain water.
Outdoor life: Fiberglass and plastic can fade when they are exposed to the elements. Extreme winter conditions may also cause planters to crack. Move the planters indoors during the winter to prevent this.
What it is made from: Concrete gets pour into molds in order to form giant planters, bowls, and urns.
When it works: Although concrete is more expensive, it is also very durable and heavy. it may be colored, as well. Due to its heft, it is often hard to move a concrete container.
Outdoor life: In cold winter areas, concrete planters are very durable.
What it is made from: Some of the many metal options that are available include copper, aluminum, galvanized tin, and cast iron.
When it works: Metal planters are available in a wide range of styles and may be used in a number of different situations. Cost and weight vary depending on the size and material, but metal plants do tend to cost more.
Outdoor life: Aluminum and tin will last in your garden for many years, and can even endure cold winters. Iron may crack when it is cold and rust with exposure and age, so it needs to be painted early or protected indoors. Copper patinates naturally with age, as well. Smaller planters might heat up when there is too much direct sun, which can potentially damage sensitive flowers.
You most likely have seen several different kinds of planters when you were at the garden center – however, what do all of their names really mean?
English planter: Slanted sides that allow plants to be easily removed. Strength is also added by a thick rim.
Standard planter: This type of pot is as wide as it is tall. Good for deep-rooted plants and tap-rooted perennials.
Azalea planter: This type of pot is three-fourths as tall as it is wide. Great for plants that have shallow roots, azaleas, ferns, and annuals.
Bulb planter: This type of pot is half as tall as it is wide. Ideal for very low growing plants like sedums and spring bulbs.
Long Tom: This type of pot is taller than it is wide and normally is rimless. It is prone to tipping over but is good for displaying trailing vines or deep-rooted plants.
Italian planter: Slightly flared edge and rimless. Attractive with plants spilling over the edge.