How to Choose the Right Garden Planter or Container

The gardening world is full of stunning garden planters, pots and containers that range in sizes, materials, and shapes. Planters look amazing on decks, porches, patios, inside, or out in your landscape. They can be planted with a delightful arrangement of flowers, foliage, and grasses, creating stunning works of garden art. The problem is, what planters should we purchase? What size do we need? What materials and designs will work best for our settings? Choosing a garden planter should not be ruled by your taste alone, but the needs of the plants should be considered as well.


6530_2402__49975-1410533636-1280-1280Start with the Plant


The first step is to know what plants you seek to place into containers to grow. Most often we leave the plant decision to the end, but it is actually best to choose the plants first, and then choose the container based upon the plant. There are aspects to a plant that are important to know, like if they can deal with drought, do they need full sun, and what size they will be when they are mature.


Consider the Climate


When it comes to the placement of the pot, how exposed will it be? Will it face strong winds, hot sun? Garden pots will dry out faster than garden soil, but some outdoor situations can make it dry out much faster. If the planter will be set where it receives full sun all day, then the material of the container should account for this. A material that is not porous will work best, as it will retain water and keep your soil moist.


These container planters often need to be watered daily. If this is not possible add a drip tray that can be filled with water if you are not able to water daily. This will allow the plant to suck up water from the bottom of the plant. Plants that are lacking in water become stressed, and they may never recover, wasting your time and money.


If the planter is to be left out over the winter months, then this will determine the material of the garden planter as well. In colder climates it is important to choose a planter that can withstand frost. Otherwise the frost can cause the planter to crack, leak, and even break. Planters can also be cared for much like fountains.  For cast stone pieces, you will want to make sure any moisture is drained out of the planter first.  It can then be covered in an absorbent material such as a towel and then wrapped in a protective covering such as a tarp.




Often a plant that is planted in full sun may need to be turned from time to time to promote even growth. If the pot needs to be turned or moved make sure the planter is light enough, or include a wheeled tray so they can be moved or turned. This is even more important if you plan to move the plants indoors for the winter. Large  container pots made of cast stone, often cannot be moved once set in place, so be sure to set them somewhere you will be happy with them over a long period of time.




When it comes to the different materials they each offer a variety of positive uses. Terra cotta is is a beautiful traditional look, but it is very porous. Concrete and Stone is great for maintaining temperature in the soil and well as moisture. These choices are heavier and harder to move. Wood planters soak up water, and it is best to get a wood that is treated to avoid rot. Metal planters are heavy, making them a good choice for tall plants like trees. They need watered often as they dry out and heat up. Synthetic planters are usually light in weight, durable, and easy to move. These are often the least expensive as well. Plastic planters work great as liners, just plant them and set them into a more decorative planter!

The incorporation of a garden planter to your setting adds a stunning focal point. These helpful hints should allow you to find the right planter for your setting and for your plants. Enjoy creating your own garden planter arrangement!
By: Susan Soler of the Team