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Pros & Cons of Different Types of Garden Containers

By: Chloe Deike Chloe Deike
Overwhelmed by all the container options available? Here are the pros and cons of 9 different types of garden containers.

assortment of garden containers: From clay to concrete, garden containers come in an array of materials.

Garden containers in all types of materials

Get your container gardens off to the right start by selecting the container that is going to work best for your needs and look slick in your space, as well! Before you make your decision, factor in your climate, the size of your space and the style of your home. With those elements in mind, peruse the list below to learn about the variety of types of garden containers.

Many garden containers are an investment. You want them to last from year to year. So take your time choosing the containers that will work best for you. Have fun with it!

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terracotta-garden-containers: You'll recognize these popular clay containers. Many gardeners have gardened in a terra-cotta container at some point.

Terra-cotta containers

This kiln-fired clay can range from rich orange-brown to a pale, creamy color. Find it in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The surface may be smooth, textured or embellished with intricate designs.


Porous so air can get in and water can evaporate. This classic container material is durable and can be used in formal- or casual-style gardens.


Dry terra-cotta wicks moisture out of the soil, away from roots so they dry out quickly. It cracks and flakes if not protected in freezing temperatures.

Terra-cotta Garden Containers You Might Like:
Pack of 5-inch terra-cotta pots
Patterned terra-cotta pot with feet
Terra-cotta frog planter

glazed garden container: Glazed garden containers offer the widest variety of color and pattern options.

Glazed containers

Made of clay that’s been coated with a glaze and fired in a kiln, these containers are available in almost any size, shape or color — even combinations of colors. You’ll find everything from high gloss to matte finishes, too.


Glazed containers are more durable and hold moisture in the soil better than plain terra-cotta.


Depending on the thickness of the container walls, they can be heavy. Glazed containers can also chip and crack in freezing temperatures

Glazed Garden Containers You Might Like:
Amazon Brand - Stone & Beam Mid-Century Two-Toned Planter, 10.53"H, Teal
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concrete garden containers: Concrete garden containers are trendy because they fit well with a modern or contemporary garden style.

Concrete containers

This material can be cast into a variety of shapes and be stained,painted or left natural. You’ll also find hypertufa, a lightweight mixture, that is similar to traditional concrete.


Tough and durable, concrete containers will last for many years with minimal care. Their heavy weight means they will not tip over easily.


Heavy to move, especially a large container filled with soil. Like many other materials, it can flake or crack in freezing winter conditions.

Concrete Garden Containers You Might Like:
Small modern concrete planter
Small concrete planter with geometric design

fiberstone-garden-containers: If you love the texture and color of concrete, but want to easily move the container, fiberstone is a great solution.

Fiberstone, a concrete lookalike

A lightweight and affordable alternative to concrete is fiberstone, which is made of fiberglass and crushed stone. It usually has a rough texture that closely resembles and feels like concrete but is lightweight, durable and can withstand freezing temps.

Fiberglass Garden Containers You Might Like:
20-inch square fiberglass container
Large, gray rectangular fiberglass planter
Small blackwashed fiberstone pot

wooden-garden-container: Wooden garden containers can be purchased, upcycled or handmade for a personal touch.


Windowboxes and planters are often made of wood. Whiskey barrels are another popular container made from this material. Any of these containers can be unfinished, sealed with a clear finish, stained or painted.


Wood is rarely damaged by freezing temperatures so it can be left outdoors all year. It also insulates the roots from hot summer temperatures.


Almost all types of wood will rot over time. If the surface has a finish, it will need to be recoated periodically to keep it looking fresh.

Wooden Garden Containers You Might Like:
Set of two whiskey barrel planters
Long cedar planter box
Square wooden planter
16-inch wooden window planter box

cast-iron-garden-container: Cast-iron garden containers are a timeless choice, and they last for a long time, too.


Iron can be cast in a mold to create almost any style from classic antique forms to sleek modern styles. It can be painted or left raw to rust naturally


Durable, will last nearly forever. And the weight can be an advantage if your garden is prone to strong winds tipping over your containers.


Weight can be a problem if you like to move your pots around frequently. Or if you’re gardening on a deck or balcony you may want a lighter material.

Cast Iron Garden Containers You Might Like:
Small cast iron urn

Metal garden container: You might be surprised that metal garden containers come in colors other than silver or black.

Sheet metal

Tin, copper, aluminum, steel or other metal can be rolled into thin sheets and formed into containers. The surface may be galvanized, painted or left natural to create different looks. Weathered steel, such as Corten steel, is a popular choice.


Usually lightweight and easy to move around, it can’t chip or crack easily. Won’t be damaged by extreme heat or cold.


Thin metal heats up fast in hot sun and can quickly dry the soil and harm the roots. Thin materials dent easily and some will rust.

Sheet Metal Garden Containers You Might Like:
Large rectangular corten steel planter
Set of three powder-coated steel containers

Lined hanging basket garden container: It's easy to reuse a hanging basket from year to year, you just might need to replace the liner.

Lined hanging basket

Hanging baskets need to be lightweight. You’ll often find them made of metal rings lined with a fibrous material, such as coco fiber or sphagnum moss. Some may have a plastic liner inside to help retain moisture.


The fiber used is usually a neutral color and won’t steal the show away from the plants.


Without a plastic liner or insert, the soil dries out very quickly. The fiber can break down and will need to be replaced if it looks ratty.

Lined Hanging Baskets You Might Like:
Large lined hanging basket
Coco liners for hanging baskets

plastic-garden-container: You might not even realize some containers are actually plastic because they look like a glazed, clay or other common garden container material.

Plastic, resin & other lookalike materials

At first glance they may look like ceramic, metal, concrete or most any other material, but are actually made from fiberglass, resin or plastic. You can find one to match any garden style.


They are lightweight, durable and weatherresistant. Most can be left outside in freezing temperatures and fit almost any style.


While they look like other materials, the major drawback is that they just aren’t the real thing. And the light weight can be problem in windy spots

Lookalike Garden Containers You Might Like:
Tall black planter
5 gallon box planter
Large, blue resin container

Published: July 17, 2020

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.


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