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Best Pots & Planters For Container Gardening

There are a plethora of options when it comes to container gardening planters. Pots and garden planters come in various colors, shapes, sizes, designs, and materials. A gardener needs to consider and assess what they value most in a container before investing in them, and priorities vary from gardener to gardener.

It may be the look, weight, price-point, ease of maintenance, climate, or potted plant placement that leads the priority list and guides you toward your decision. We will take you through the material options available on the market and explore the pros and cons of each so that you can make an educated decision on which types of container gardening planters are the best match for your gardening needs.

Nightshade and paprika growing in clay pots.

Best Pots For Container Gardening

There are many factors that you might not think about as you navigate the aisles or online sites in search of the perfect container gardening planters. Before jumping into your purchase, explore some of the many options here to decide what is best for you!

Ceramic and Clay Pots

Fine-textured, glazed clay pots can add a personal touch for gardeners, as they come in a wide array of sizes, designs, color schemes, and patterns. Because they are kiln-fired and sealed, they are less porous and susceptible to nature’s elements. They provide a sturdy base for plants and won’t blow over or get knocked over easily.

It is essential to note that if you live in colder climates, these types of planters must be emptied and stored away correctly, for if they freeze with moisture inside, they will indeed crack open. In addition to being vulnerable to cracking under frigid temperatures, large ceramic and clay pots can be quite heavy to haul around and can be a pricey gardening investment.

Fabric Growing Bags

Fabric growing bags are a great alternative to traditional pots. They are made of a breathable fabric structure that allows for self-pruning root systems, faster plant growth, efficient airflow, and excellent drainage. They are also easy to move from place to place and store without difficulty when not in use.

Grow bags come in various sizes, but one should consider the weight of having huge grow bags filled with soil if you anticipate the need to move the bags. In addition to the heft of oversized soil-filled bags, it is best to do your research in selecting a quality growing bag. Some brands are simply made of sturdier materials and have more longevity and better drainage than others.

Kellogg Garden Organics

All Natural Potting Mix

**Product not available in AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT. For a comparable product in these states click here.

Grow Food & Companion Plant in Containers

In this video Bridget Ayers, a backyard gardener in Southern California – Zone 10b, shows us her container garden and discusses her top 8 tips for successful container gardening. Whether your garden is big or small, make the most of your space with these tips and watch the full Grow Food & Companion Plant in Containers video on the Kellogg Garden Youtube Channel.

Terracotta Pots

Terracotta pots are another type of clay pot that is readily available, affordable, and appealing to gardeners everywhere. They are very common to see on store shelves in garden centers, chain stores, and even craft stores. These pots are easily identifiable by their brownish-red hue, and they come in a variety of sizes from minuscule to expansive.

Terracotta pots are unglazed, so they are porous and permeate moisture both inside and out of the pot walls. It can be challenging to regulate the moisture of your soil when growing in terracotta pots. You can seal the clay pots yourself, add a plastic liner, or add a tray underneath the pots to help retain the water in your soil.

If you live in a region with frigid winters, it is essential to store terracotta pots upside-down and under shelter to protect them for future gardening seasons.

Concrete and Stone Planters

Concrete and stone planters add an elegant and stately touch to any garden or entryway. They gain quite an appealing patina over time and can be purchased in different shapes and carvings, which reflect a gardener’s style. They should be considered a semi-permanent addition to the landscape because they are extremely heavy and cumbersome depending on their size. Concrete and stone pots may need to be layered with gravel in the base if there are no drainage holes present.

If you want the look of stone without the heft, fiberglass pots might be an appealing choice. Fiberglass is a manufactured substance that combines resin and glass fibers that are molded into structures like pots. They can mimic a stone or clay pot’s look and appeal, with added durability and less weightiness. They don’t have any special storage requirements and can withstand any climate. They are relatively affordable; however, they are not the most environmentally friendly choice on the market.

Biodegradable Pots

Biodegradable pots are an excellent choice for gardeners, especially those who will be transplanting seedlings. They can be made of either pressed paper or coir ( coconut husks), and they can be planted directly into the ground. They are a great choice for growing vegetables, as they can be transplanted without damaging plants’ delicate root systems. They are breathable, eco-friendly, and affordable.

The term ‘biodegradable’ means that they will break down over time and return to the soil, an environmental plus. However, coir pots tend to be a bit sturdier than their pressed paper counterparts. This does mean that these pots will have to be repurchased each gardening season, but their low cost makes this a pretty feasible option.

Fresh herbs growing in red containers.

Wood Container Gardening Planters

Wood container gardening planters add a natural feel to any garden landscape or growing space. They are relatively easy to make yourself, too, if you are handy with a hammer and nails. They can be made of repurposed wood materials, untreated lumber, or purchased already constructed. Wood is sturdy and can withstand the elements of varying climates.

It is essential to use untreated wood for planting containers, mainly when growing edibles. Pressure-treated lumber can release harmful toxins into the soils and therefore into your plants and food supply. Take the kind of wood into consideration when purchasing any wood planter. Untreated wood does have a higher susceptibility to rotting, so garden container planters made of wood may not have the same longevity as some others. Choosing planters made of cedar can extend the life of your planters considerably.

Metal Planters

Metal planters are incredibly durable. Consider the weight of the pot when selecting a metal planter. Some materials like cast iron are hefty and can be hard to move, while tin and aluminum pots provide durability, require less maintenance, and are more practical in weightiness. Just make sure that you drill holes in the bottom of the planter or provide gravel in the bottom so that soil has the opportunity to drain sufficiently.

Plastic Garden Containers

Plastic garden containers come in all different sizes and can take on an array of appearances in texture, some that even look like sought-after stone, wood, or metal tone. They are user friendly and very versatile. They can be visually appealing while allowing the ability to move plants in and out of shade and sun. Care should still be taken to empty and store them in colder climates during winter. Plastic can still crack and become brittle if not treated with sufficient care, and if colored, it may fade over time.

Outdoor large brown wooden pots with green plants.

Container Gardening Planters

Container gardening is a great way to add diversity and style to your garden. Always make sure that all planters have sufficient drainage holes before planting. Whether you choose to mix and match different types of container gardening planters or stick with a uniform type of material, it’s great to have options. And it is crucial to make informed decisions before you make investments in gardening tools of the trade, like containers. We hope this rundown of each material’s pros and cons will help you make the best choice for your gardening needs.

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Wooden planted raised beds
Terra-cotta pots in garden display


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    • Hi Janet, to print the entire article or certain pages of it press Control or Comand + P on your keyboard or go to File -> Print. You can also screenshot a portion of the article and print it out or copy and paste the text into a document and print it. If you need additional assistance on how to take a screenshot on your computer we recommend googling, “How to take a screenshot on (insert computer name here)”. We hope this helps, happy gardening!

  1. I’m thinking of using rain gutters to plant watermelon and pumpkins. Are these good options for containers?

  2. Check out the big metal containers at the feed store and drill large holes in the bottom. They last a long time. Can spray paint the outside ONLY. Paula

    • Hi Paula! Sounds like a lovely idea. We love using alternative pots and containers. As long as the plants have drainage and the containers are free from harmful chemicals, you can grow in almost anything.

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