Planter 101- Guide to Choosing The Right Pot
Pot VS Planter
Pot and Planter are two of the most commonly used phrases in the gardening world. While most of the time, they are used to indicate the same thing- a container to hold the plants, there is a very subtle difference between these. Pots are usually smaller, round, and are designed to hold one plant, Planters work well as outer covers, can be irregular in shape, and can accommodate more than one plant.
Does size matter?
When we talk about plants, we talk about them in sizes measured conveniently in cm or inches. And when the plant size come under consideration, it is only natural that the planter size is also taken into account. Now, this is very important because the size of your pot makes or breaks your plant. Maintaining a proper root to soil ratio is the mantra for a good and healthy plant.
Drainage and Porosity!
Some planters come with drainage holes and some come without those. If you are a pro-gardener or working with succulents and Cactus, then you might be able to work with non-drainage hole planters. However, we always, always, recommend planters with drainage holes. Not only can you ensure that your plant is properly watered once the excess is seeping out of the pot, but it also greatly reduces the chances of root rot. A well-draining soil with a proper pot will ensure a smooth growth experience for both you and your plant in the long future.
THE PLANTER SPECTRUM
Planters come in various sizes and materials - some organic (like Wood, Bamboo, Jute, etc) and other non-organic (like Fibreglass, Cement, Metal, etc). It is important to know which material suits your needs, since not only will it elevate your decor but also affect the health of the plant.
1. FIBREGLASS PLANTERS
Fiberglass is a fairly modern material. Glass is spun into a fiber and then mixed with a resin to create a strong and flexible composite, post which a few rounds of sanding and a layer of primer giveS the fiberglass planter a flawless and protective finish. This mixture is then molded into planter shapes.
- These are extremely durable and practically unbreakable pots and can be used for indoors, and extensively outdoor decor. Since they are UV treated, they also do not lose their shine under the direct sun.
- Apart from being extremely long-lasting, they are super light, making them ideal material for large outdoor planters that might be difficult to shift around.
- Fibreglass material poses great health benefits also! These include UV protection for hot climates and waterproofing, and because it’s not a porous material, it won’t leech chemicals into the soil and harm your plants, making it perfect for growing edibles!
- These are some of the pricier materials when it comes to pots and planters. But due to their extremely long-lasting properties, they are quite popular. So if you want a long-term planter, you can think to shell out a few extra bucks and get these.
- Watch out for heavy FG pots, since those have more sand and fiber, making them inferior in quality.
2. CONCRETE PLANTERS
Manufacturing Concrete Planters includes mixing cement paste with water, sand, and rock to create the final product. Industries use a combination of chemicals such as calcium, silicon, aluminium, and iron to help bind and harden the mixture. Wet concrete is poured into a mold for the final shape. Concrete comes in light grey colour, but you can use masonry paint and colour them in your desired colour.
- They come in an aesthetically pleasing neutral shade due to their natural pastel hue, making DIY and customization possible with colours and patterns.
- They are heavy and hardy, so if you are living in a location with strong wind and extreme weather conditions, then this is the planter for you.
- Due to their molding process, they come in all shapes and sizes, flexing their domain in indoor and outdoor decor.
- They are relatively cheaper than Fibreglass, so if you are looking for landscaping, then these are the ideal material for your plants.
- Concrete is strong, but concrete is also brittle, increasing the chances of cracks and breakage upon collision or during delivery.
- It is environmentally damaging and contributes to global warming.
- Concrete contains lime that can leech into the potting soil. This creates an alkaline Ph balance that plants like succulents but can stunt growth for a lot of varieties.
3. PLASTIC PLANTER
Plastic has been a wonder material since it was introduced in the 1900s. Plastic pots are essentially made from crude oil which is a non-renewable resource. Despite that, large industries exist to extract and then process the oil needed to create plastic containers.
- Plastic is probably the most widely available material, meaning that it is also the cheapest material among pots right now.
- The strength-weight ratio is very high, which means that it can be shipped worldwide with minimal transit damage.
- Due to their composition, they are also highly durable, making them susceptible to a lot of elements.
- Plastic is absolutely not environment friendly. It takes thousands of years to degrade - so much so that it can leech the groundwater, enter food chains and cause havoc to the ecosystem.
- The wrong kind of plastic might harm the plant's health. Prefer UV-treated pots.
- These pots have a lifetime of 2-3 years in outdoor locations & 3-5 years in indoor locations.
4. TERRA COTTA AND CERAMIC POTS
Ceramic and TerraCotta are essentially the same material with slight variation in their mother composition - clay. While Terracotta is a reddish-brown clay, Ceramics are made of a lighter gray shade of clay. Ceramic is often glazed on the outside, while Terra cotta pots are left in their rustic appearance.
"Use glazed ceramic pots to keep your plants hydrated as the glazing seals the pot and stops leakage. On the other hand, unglazed terra cotta looks great and is well-suited for plants that like a lot of drainage."
- Clay pots can range from dirt cheap to outlandishly luxurious. While terracotta dominates the lower strata, Ceramics, due to their glazing, can come as very expensive.
- Ceramic pots can be used and re-used for decades, for them being highly durable and tolerant to environmental factors.
- Terra cotta pots are visually appealing if you are going for a raw rustic look, with them being weathered over time, giving an old-time vintage vibe.
- These are heavy pots, so if you are living alone and cannot move around heavy pots, then these might not be the pots for you.
- As strong as they are, they are also very brittle and can break easily.
5. METAL PLANTERS
There are various kinds of metal containers available, but the most common metals used are steel, aluminum, zinc, and copper. As an outdoor planter, metal containers made of steel rust over the years to become red in hue. This process is quickened by environmental elements like humidity and rainfall. Metal materials are not porous and so to ensure good drainage, drill holes in the bottom to allow drainage.
"Galvanized steel is even stronger and will be more weather resistant compared to other planters in your container garden."
- Metal Planters are some of the strongest planters out there. They are not brittle, can be made into a variety of shapes, cannot chip, crack, scratch, and have a strong melting point.
- Metal containers have exquisite look, making them an appealing factor in interior decor. For a more durable planter, use those which are made of galvanized steel, aluminum, and zinc, as they give off a strong designer vibe. Copper and rusted steel, on their own, give off a classic rustic charm.
- Metal Planters are expensive. Durability comes at a cost, but, with a few extra bucks, these planters can survive decades without much maintenance.
- They are super heavy and combined with soil and plant, the weight simply increases. Though this makes them a good option for locations with high wind, mobility might be an issue.
- Metal Planters are best for indoor decor. Outdoorsy locations heat up the planters, which in turn can damage the roots of the plant.
6. WOOD PLANTERS
Ergonomic and eco-friendly, wooden planters are your thing if you are looking for a sustainable garden. Rosewood, cedar, hemlock, fir, and pine are some of the most common tree wood used for these pots. Planks and beams are then cut from these trees to make lumber, post which they are cured and treated for several months to increase the waterproofing and strength of the pot.
- Wood planters are made of organic elements, and hence pose zero threat to the plant. To prevent rot, you can varnish them or use lacquer to seal the wood from moisture and weathering.
- For a natural and humble appearance, wooden planters are an excellent choice - not just for indoors, but your patio garden as well. Wood gives off an appearance that cannot be replicated by any of the above materials - the natural, wild, rustic look.
- Wood lasts for 10 years, 15 max if you are maintaining it well - unlike Fibreglass, which lasts, probably till your third generation.
- Because they are made from high quality wood, they are extremely expensive - especially those made from Rosewood and Cheddar.
Now that we know of the planter material, the main question, still remains unanswered:
Which Planter Should I Go For
To put it simply, think about the kind of plant and location where you are growing it.
- For shaded regions with limited sunlight, Terracotta and Metal are some of the most explored options, while for weathered areas Concrete and Terra cotta are mostly used.
- For your indoor space, look into the appearance. IF you wish for a glazed versatile shade, absolutely choose Fibreglass over anything. For a more natural look, wood planters are your friends.
- If you prefer low cost planters, opt for budget-friendly Plastic or Ceramic planters.
- For outdoor locations, go for big & beautiful FRP planters that live for a lifetime.
To put it simply, it all depends on what your style quota is and what look you are going for. If you ask us, we are absolutely hung up over FRP & Metal Planters - for their alluring, exquisite look and their lifelong durability.