Pot to Patio: Choosing a Planter for a Container Garden

Stylish containers can give your garden a boost, but the material you pick can determine the life of your plant.
blue planter

Charming Bumblebee Pot

Stylish containers give your greens a boost, like this beautiful pacific blue bumblebee pot from the Pottery Market in Asheville, NC.

Photo by: Image courtesy of potterymarketnc.com

Image courtesy of potterymarketnc.com

Ever feel overwhelmed by the staggering variety of garden containers available at your local nursery? Believe it or not, the type of containers you choose for your plants can make a difference in how well they do! Here are common types of garden pottery and their advantages and disadvantages: 

We're sorry, there seems to be an issue playing this video. Please refresh the page or try again in a moment. If you continue to have issues, please contact us here.

Architectural Garden
Loading Video...

Wood 

Beautiful and classic, wood containers add a rustic touch to any garden. They look beautiful, insulate heat well, and can be made inexpensively at home using a kit or plans found online. But wood planters definitely have their drawbacks. If treated, the containers may not be safe for growing edibles; but if not treated, the wood can split and rot. Wood is also susceptible to hungry and burrowing insects! Making sure your wood container offers adequate drainage, and using a well-draining soil can help prevent rot. Pressure-treated woods and certain species, like redwood, also tend to resist rot and insects.

Clay

One of the most common types of garden container, clay pots can be either hand-thrown and fired (more expensive) or mass produced, like the ubiquitous brownish-orange terracotta pots we’re all familiar with. Basic unglazed clay pots are inexpensive and easy to find, but since clay is porous, your plants may dry out faster and will have to be watered more often. They are also breakable, can shatter into sharp shards, and may need to be brought in during the winter so they don’t freeze and break. 

Plastic

Like clay, plastic pots come in many shapes and sizes and are cheap and easy to find. They are often painted and shaped to look like other materials, like wood or stone. Plastic pots are sometimes lighter than clay pots and are not as breakable, but they don’t provide the same kind of insulation from the heat as clay does. Some of the more inexpensive plastic pots are made from a very thin plastic, which can easily split.

Stone

Planters made from natural stone can be a focal point of your garden, but can be quite heavy, not to mention pricey. An alternative is a container made from reconstructed stone – they’re less expensive than natural stone, but still attractive, solid, and long-lasting. Stone pots provide plants with good insulation, but can be quite heavy and cumbersome.  

Next Up

How to Design a Container Garden

Follow this simple design concept and boost the impact of your container gardens with plants of various sizes, textures and color combinations.

Low-Maintenance Plants for Dorm Rooms

These succulents aren't just beautiful, they're super low-maintenance, too. Plant them in bright, hand-painted pots and they instantly become the perfect addition to an apartment or dorm room.

Growing Tomatoes in Pots

While there are many advantages to growing tomatoes in containers, there are definitely some things to keep in mind to help ensure success. Here are tips and top varieties for patio tomatoes.

Winter Container Gardens

Dress up a few containers with cool-season flowers, vegetables and herbs, to keep the color coming as winter arrives.

How to Make a Combination Outdoor Planter and Privacy Screen

Gain some privacy in style with this easy-to-build privacy screen great for small decks or patios.

How to Plant a Cactus Container Garden

Look sharp. You can make a cactus container garden in about an hour.

How to Grow Patio Roses in Containers

Plant in containers so you can stop and smell the roses on your patio, deck or balcony.

Lavender Trees

Set your sights on growing a lavender tree or topiary.

How to Make a Raised-Bed Planter With a Built-in Bench

Add a garden to your deck or patio with this combination raised planter box and bench.

The Best Self-Watering Planters for Your Home, Deck or Patio

Take the work and worry out of watering flowers, veggies and herbs when you use a planter that gives plant roots the right amount of moisture.

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.