Which pot, planter and container material should I use?
With so many container options out there, it's important to pick the best quality material so that they last a long time - our guide below outlines the most common types of materials and the pros & cons of each!
TERRACOTTA - made from baked clay, these historic and charming pots are often found round in shape, with a distinct earth-red colour.
The porous material allows air and water to easily pass through the walls of the pot, protecting the plants from being over-watered, which helps prevent root rot and disease.
But this same effect can also lead to under-watering, drying out the soil and leaving you with a very sad plant. Freezing temperatures can damage the many terracotta pots by thawing it off in layers.
So when buying, it's best to look out the best quality terracotta pots that have been fired to really high temperatures (like our UK made Yorkshire Terracotta Pots). Look out for are frost-proof types.
WOOD – with a typical garden appearance, wooden plant pots come in all shapes and sizes.
Not only are they fairly lightweight to move around, but, since they're a natural material, wooden planters are also environmentally friendly. They’re not vulnerable to weather changes, making them ideal for outdoor plants all year round.
Despite this, they can be prone to pests, rotting and splitting, which shortens their lifespan and ruins their aesthetic.
PLASTIC – despite the negative connotations surrounding plastic use, plastic plant pots can be used repeatedly if properly taken care of.
Not only are they extremely affordable, lightweight and sold in a diverse range of colours, but they are also one of the best materials for retaining moisture. This makes them perfect containers for plants that need constant hydration. They are also very resilient to damage.
But plastic isn’t hard-wearing – it becomes brittle under harsh heat of cold conditions, causing fading colour and cracking.
Keep an eye out for plastic pots made from recycled materials or made from ocean plastic, which are much more environmentally friendly.
METAL – perfect for a modern aesthetic, metal containers can give an industrial appearance – materials include: iron, stainless steel and aluminium.
The main advantage of metal pots is that they are incredibly strong and therefore extremely durable; they can colour overtime due to changing weather conditions, but this simply adds to their unique aesthetic.
On the other hand, rust can be seen as less desirable by others and so metal pots can require a special coating for protection. Another issue is direct sunlight, as metal heats quickly and can burn the plant or its root – this can be avoided by lining the container with fabric, plastic with holes in or moss.
FIBERGLASS – made by moulding spun glass fibres and holding them together with resin, fiberglass is relatively new on the market.
These newbies are lightweight and extremely long-lasting, as well as low maintenance due to being weather-resistant, shatter-proof and UV-resistant. They can also give an elegant but casual appearance, with the material often mimicking other materials through its design.
These benefits however come at a price, with fiberglass pots being one of the most expensive container materials.
STONE – with a diverse range of stoneware - including concrete, limestone, marble and granite – there are plenty of looks to choose from.
Stone planters are ideal for indoor and outdoor use, however it’s best that you pick their place carefully as they are the heaviest to move. This does, however, make them extremely durable and perfect for outdoor, windy conditions. Generally limited to neutral colours, stone pots create a stunning base for green foliage and vibrant flowers.
On the other hand, stone materials are not suitable for all types of plants. Concrete planters naturally absorb nutrients, making soil more alkaline, so they need to be coated with a sealing solution when plants require a more acidic soil.
CERAMIC – glazed ceramic pots are extremely popular for their extensive range of styles, patterns, colours and designs, ensuring that they suit every variety of plant and flower.
The glazed finish also provides the practical benefit of retaining moisture, so it’s recommended to use them for plants that love a lot of water and a humid environment, such as ferns.
Ceramic is however particularly heavy and extremely breakable, therefore not ideal if you hope to move your plants around often. Also, the glazed finish is susceptible to damage as a result of temperature changes.
FABRIC – highly breathable and with good drainage, fabric planters are another option to consider.
Fabric pots are excellent for helping your plants develop strong and fibrous root systems. They also eliminate the need for drainage holes due to water being able to drain right through the material. Furthermore, they have a considerably smaller environmental impact compared to plastic pots!
However, they do come at a cost, as reusability is low and their prices are higher than regular plastic pots.
FIBER CLAY - made from a combination of fibre, resin and minerals, these pots have a faux-stone finish, but pigments can be added to create the look of different stones, such as slate or terracotta. They can also be glazed or polished.
Fibre clay pots are significantly more lightweight and affordable than real stone, as well as being strong, weatherproof and durable due to their clay bonding process.
The material also has eco-benefits as a result of the fibre clay often utilising waste material from other industries in its manufacturing process.