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What are the Different Types of Planters?

Planters come in a delightful array of styles, each with its own charm and function. From classic terracotta pots to modern self-watering systems, they cater to the needs of every green thumb. Hanging baskets add vertical flair, while raised beds offer ergonomic comfort. Window boxes bring blooms to your sill. What type of planter will inspire your garden's next transformation?
Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

Planters are available in an amazing range of sizes, shapes, materials and styles. Common planter styles include pots, window boxes and large indoor and outdoor containers of many different shapes. Some of the most popular types of planters include ceramic, terra cotta, wrought iron, resin, wicker, metal and wood.

Teak and cedar are two woods typically used for planters as they both tend to resist warping and cracking. Cedar has a reddish hue to it while teak is a more yellowish brown. Both woods are strong, durable and easy to care for because they don't need protective coatings. Cedar contains naturally protective oils, but may splinter if dirt becomes lodged in the wood. The easiest way to prevent this is to clean cedar planters regularly with a garden hose.

Some planters are made of terracotta clay.
Some planters are made of terracotta clay.

Wicker planters are lightweight and often inexpensive. They can be painted or left natural in color. Many wicker planters have a pot-shaped container on top of a stand. Resin planters are made from polyresin plastic and may be made to resemble stone or terracotta clay. A resin planter is usually durable, affordable and created to handle harsh weather conditions.

A basket made using the wicker process.
A basket made using the wicker process.

Galvanized steel planters are popular for their versatility since they can complement many different decor styles. For example, galvanized steel window boxes with embossed floral designs can be a great choice for a country look, while plain, sleek steel planters fit in well with more contemporary decors. The cool silver color of galvanized steel can make an interesting contrast to any natural wood tone in floors, tables and cabinets.

Wrought iron planters often have an airy, curvy appearance, yet are very sturdy. A wrought iron planter may have a ring on top of a stand made to insert a plant pot. Other types of wrought iron planters may just have a flat surface on which to rest a pot. Wrought iron planters usually look elegant and coordinate well with iron patio furniture.

Terracotta pots in the familiar orange-brown clay are a classic look. Terracotta pocket planters, or strawberry pots, have many openings to hold an assortment of small plants. Ceramic planters are available in many different colors, designs and finishes. Hanging ceramic pots are often used both indoors and outdoors to hold trailing plants.

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Discussion Comments


@MrsPramm - Well, people put mosaics in swimming pools so they must be easy to waterproof.

I love the idea of having creative outdoor planters. I generally like using things like old teapots and colanders that I find at garage sales and thrift stores. I just make sure they are all blue, so that they don't look like too much of a mess.


@Ana1234 - I'm sure there are paints out there which will seal up terracotta garden planters. I know if you glaze them, they become waterproof. We used to have giant clay pots to hold water when I was living in a very hot country and they had to be unglazed in order to sweat and cool down. It was amazing how cold the water would become in an unglazed pot.

But the effect was completely negated if the pot was glazed. So, it's definitely possible to make them waterproof. Although, I would also look up whether that's enough, because planters are obviously going to be exposed to a lot of water by their very nature. Maybe mosaics built on something indoors would be better.


I went through a phase where I really wanted to be good at a lot of different kinds of crafts and I tried to make mosaics by putting patterns together on terracotta pots.

Unfortunately, I didn't realize that one of the features of an unglazed planter is that they sweat water. It's not really all that much of a big deal unless you try putting paint and tiles on top of them without making them waterproof first.

My pots looked really lovely until the grout began to peel off from watering. It was a good lesson on why you should follow directions and learn the rules before you try to go your own way.

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    • Some planters are made of terracotta clay.
      By: Sergey Skleznev
      Some planters are made of terracotta clay.
    • A basket made using the wicker process.
      By: kornienko
      A basket made using the wicker process.