Several materials are used for pots and planters: plastic, terracotta, composite, stone, concrete and metal. Discover the benefits for a beautiful garden

Plant containers are available in a range of materials. How do you choose? Where do you start? With your plants, of course, because different plants have different needs. Root development, water requirements and weather-resistance are good starting criteria. Design and aesthetic appeal are extremely important too, and this is where you can let your personality shine through! Every material has a look all its own. The individual characteristics of most of the materials available are described below.

Pot en terre cuite

Terracotta and Clay

These are porous materials, which means pots and planters made of terra cotta and clay are water and air permeable. If your plant requires good drainage, or you are enduring a heat wave, frequent watering will be important. Although solid, they can break, so be sure to handle with care. Store during the winter.

Benefits

  • Heavy, therefor stable and wind-resistant
  • Attractive, they compliment all decors
  • Breathability
  • Available in many sizes and shapes
Pot en plastique

Plastic

Plastic containers come in many sizes, shapes, and colours – from wildly vivid to very subdued. Imitations of other natural materials has evolved incredibly as well. Plastic is a waterproof material, which on the plus side means less frequent watering. However, you need to be extra-vigilant about over-watering to avoid excess water at the bottom of the container. Their light weight makes it easy to move plants indoors but means they don’t anchor large plants well enough outdoors. Ideal for a container vegetable garden, the balcony, deck, and urban gardens.

Benefits

  • Affordable
  • Retains water and moisture
  • Incredible choice
  • Light and easy to maneuver
  • Great weather and frost-resistance
Pot en pierre

Cast Stone and Concrete

Cast-stone is built to last! Classic and regal, and generally available in earthen tones. Stone and concrete are frost-resistant, and they both offer wonderful opportunities for landscaping outdoors and decorative use indoors. Essentially the same, concrete is more permeable and cast stone is stronger. Available in many sizes, they are un-paralleled for adding elegance and prestige to any decor. Due to their weight, you may not want to move them too often!

Benefits

  • Elegant, resistant
  • Good drainage and aeration
  • Eco-friendly, extremely durable
Pot en bois

Wood

Wood containers are fantastic for shrubs. They can be used for small plants as well, as long as the container size suits the plant size. You do need to watch out for wood rot. Direct contact with the ground or damp surfaces is to be avoided. Solution: line the bottom with a polyethylene sheet (with a few holes for drainage) to create a barrier. The choice of finishes allows you to personalize wood. Can be left outside during the winter.

Benefits

  • Versatile, integrates to all decors
  • Eco-friendly
  • Painted, stained, natural: all are possible
  • Sizes are infinite and adaptable
  • Temperature-resistant
Pot en métal

Metal

Metal containers are varied. Iron pots are very heavy, but aluminum, steel, and zinc offer durability with a lighter weight. Zinc is one of the longest-lasting materials and requires no maintenance, whereas iron will rust left un-treated. Zinc usually comes in a dull, pre-patinated finish and is left to age naturally outdoors. Zinc plant-pot holders are also very popular. Galvanized steel is steel with a coating of zinc to prevent rusting, and aluminum, even more durable than galvanized steel will also not rust. Adequate drainage can be an issue; either drill a few holes in the bottom or put in a layer of stones. Heat is also problematic, with roots over-heating in metal containers left in the sun. Solution: set your metal container in partial shade, or, put trailing plants around the edges of the planter to shade the sides.

Benefits

  • Extremely durable
  • Harmonizes with all decors
 

Composites

Containers made of composite materials provide attractive alternatives to plastic that are much more natural. Fibreglass clay composite replicates the look of lead, iron and concrete but is 80% lighter. Natural and rough-looking Finconstone is made of a combination of cement, sand and finely ground stone. Polystone is waterproof and frost-resistant, although as with most other composites, you’ll have to drill holes for drainage if used outdoors. They bring a natural inspiration to the garden as well as being eco-friendly.

Benefits

  • Durable, low-maintenance
  • Imitate natural materials
  • Wide choice of finishes
  • Lightweight, easy to handle
  • Relatively unbreakable
  • Eco-friendly

All containers have their advantages and drawbacks. Once you know what you need for your plants, feel free to be inspired by the wonderful selections to choose from. Because when you get it right – plant, material, container – the effect might well be stunning!

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