Budget, space, aesthetics—consider it all when picking the perfect container to use in your garden.
As important as plants and foliage are in container gardens, the hardware holding these gems is just as valuable. Just like plants, containers have their own characteristics: weight, sensitivity to weather changes, and appearance. We've laid out five planter options tailored to different tastes and needs of gardeners everywhere.
The Classic: Terra-Cotta
Everyone recognizes these versatile containers. They break fairly easily and they don't like below-freezing temps, but terra-cotta is widely available and pretty cheap. Plus, terra-cotta pots don't have to stick to their traditional tan color—they're easily paintable and can be customized to your liking.
The Cool New Material: Concrete
Leave it out, bring it in: Concrete can take whatever the weather throws at it. However, if you live where it freezes, you'll have to get concrete containers off the ground during cold spells—and the pots are heavy. If you're feeling adventurous, try making your own concrete planter at home.
The Authentic: Wood
Not all wood is the same, so pick something super sturdy—like cedar—or try nontoxic treated pine. For extra protection, brush all surfaces with a waterproofing liquid (try a protectant stain like Wood Rx's Solid Wood Stain and Sealer, $32, homedepot.com) and let dry before adding soil and plants.
The Distinctive Material: Metal
Metal pots like galvanized tubs and buckets give your container gardens an urban, trendy feel—but beware: Plants in metal containers can get hot quickly. Line them with garden fabric, use them in shade, or fill them with plants that like it hot.
The Fakers: Plastic or Polyurethane Foam
You buy a plastic gardening container that looks like just about anything else, including concrete, wood, and cast iron. Or you can transform your inexpensive container into an immaculate garden accent. Keep in mind that while these planters are cheap, they won't last forever.