Best Material For Outdoor Planters And Plant Pots

When on the hunt for the best outdoor planter pots and planters, the buyer, whether they be wholesale suppliers or retailers, have a whole range of materials to choose from.

Customers are met with a barrage of choices from concrete containers to composite materials like plastic and fiberglass planters.

The choice is made harder as there are many factors to consider when buying planter pots and planters. For example, you need to know what your customers want and if their needs align with the material’s properties.

You also need to understand how each material performs in a variety of conditions, such as weathering or UV exposure. Lastly, you have to consider maintenance costs for each material over time so that you don’t end up spending more than necessary on repairs or replacements.

With such important requirements, why are there so many choices? And, what is the ideal material for you and your customers?

Plus, to make it even more difficult, how do these materials affect the visual appeal and health of the plants?

How do I choose an outdoor planter?

There are a variety of factors you should consider before choosing your planter material and stocking your inventory with containers. When it comes to choosing the ideal planter material, here are some important concepts to keep in mind:

Height & Width – The material must be scalable to accommodate big and small plant sizes. Not all materials support large planter sizes.

Weight – Some materials are light and easy to install, move, and rearrange, even with large containers.

Shapes & Style – Does this planter suit your aesthetic? Think about the style that you want first and then choose the material.

Location – Containers in high-traffic or unsheltered areas will need to be durable and include some resistance to weathering. As planters in a commercial space must always look clean and professional, they must not rot, rust, chip, or leak.

Longevity – Choosing the right material will protect your bottom line. Durable plant containers will need less repair and provide more front-of-house performance.

Related article: Don’t forget to think about the best planter color too – it’s more important than you imagine!

What Planter Materials Are There?

There are many different materials for planters in the marketplace. The most popular are:

  • Plastic
  • Wood
  • Paper
  • Metal
  • Terracotta
  • Ceramic
  • Concrete
  • Fiberglass

Among them, what is the best material for planters? We offer you a list of materials, along with their pros and cons.

Planter material comparison chart

The 8 Best Planter Materials

Spoiler alert: Fiberglass planters are the best for our customers

indoor palms

Our customers are looking for a high-quality, durable planter that will last for years. They expect a product that can withstand the elements, and yet look sophisticated, aesthetically pleasing, and provide great functionality.

With a unique molding process that allows us to create any pot shape or size imaginable, a fiberglass planter is just what our customers have been looking for!

Find out more about our unique and standard container sizes.

1. Plastic pots

what is the best material for planters

Plastic is one of the cheapest options in the marketplace. If you buy a new plant, this is the pot you will come home with. A plastic container will not lose moisture quick enough as the material is non-porous. This means you will have to install drainage holes for the plants roots to stay healthy.

In a nutshell: Though it’s ok to use for a novice container garden, plastic shouldn’t be a long term or a commercial solution due to poor material quality and environmental concerns.


Versatile in appearance: Plastic pots can mimic different kinds of material like stone, terracotta, ceramic, but they do not appear so realistic.

Low price: Plastic planters are one of the cheapest among all kinds of pots.

Easy to customize: Plastic pots are easy to handle. You can always use paint or spray paint to change its look. You can also drill more drainage holes into your planter if needed.

Lightweight: Plastic is light which makes it easy for you to rearrange your pots. This feature also makes plastic planters a good option for your balcony or on your working desk. 


For temporary use: Plastic pots only last for a few seasons. Their color fades away soon and the pot becomes more fragile when exposed to the direct sun. Therefore, you need to change your pot after a few seasons to keep up professional appearances.

Not safe for the plant roots: when under direct sunlight, plastic planters absorb heat quickly which can cause the root to wither. 

Not sustainable: Plastics are petroleum-based which is not eco-friendly. Its short life span causes often discharge and replacement. If they are not collected and recycled in the right way, plastic planters are harmful to the environment and wasteful of resources.

2. Wooden planters

what is the best material for planters

There are different types of wood containers on the market. Most of them are made from pressed wood or rot-resistant wood. A wooden planter doesn’t retain moisture too well which means plants have good drainage.

In a nutshell: Great for small projects and private houses where the owner can maintain the container.


Attractive appearance: Wood looks great outdoors and for small pots, you can also paint or spray paint your wood planters according to your desire. 

Weight: Wood planters are medium weight. It is relatively easy to shift or move them around the house. 

Eco-friendly: Made from one of the most abundant natural materials, wood containers are a natural alternative to plastic containers.

Weather-resistant: Wood is vulnerable to weather and humidity which can cause them to rot. To make sure your wood planters do not rot, choose rot-resistant wood planters or use preservatives on your pots.


High maintenance: Wooden planters require frequent care like rustproofing metal bands or nails every year, checking for weather and water damage, and touching up areas with any paint chips.

Durability: Wood planters do not last long. Even though they do not break, they are prone to pests, rotting, splitting. 

3. Paper pots

what is the best material for planters

If you want a planter with a natural look for container gardening, consider paper planters. They may not be the best option if you want long-lasting planters, but they are practical for a garden planter to grow vegetables rather than wow clients that come to your office.

In a nutshell: Paper pots and planters should be reserved for organic gardens, not for professional use.


Eco-friendly: Paper pots are the superstar for being sustainable. They are made from recycled paperboard or newspaper. The pot can biodegrade and be used again to mulch your plants.

Cheap: Paper is cheap. These pots may be the cheapest on this list. You can also make your own containers using newspaper.

Lightweight: These containers are super lightweight so moving them around is easy.

Airflow: The containers allow oxygen to go through and enrich the soil. Good airflow makes it a perfect option for seed starting pots.


For temporary use: Paper pots are not designed to last for life. They will easily tear away or rip when saturated with water.

Susceptible to mold: Because paper pots can absorb a lot of water, they are an ideal environment for mold to develop. After some time, your pots can get slimy, and you know it’s time to let them biodegrade.

Lack of plant protection: Paper and other natural materials don’t offer much insulation for potted plants in cold climates. So as far as outdoor pots go, they are better suited for a greenhouse.

4. Metal containers

what is the best material for planters

Metal containers are famous for having a strong visual appeal. They can be colorful or hold a cold aesthetic. Containers made from aluminium and galvanized steel have become very trendy due to their strong structural integrity.

In a nutshell: Metal planters are extremely durable and won’t crack, though they may end up rusting and leeching chemicals into the plant soil.


Durability: Metal planters are durable. They are shatter-proof and crack-proof, but they can dent. They can take a high heat without warping or bleaching.

Decorative: Metal containers are super decorative. If you love industrial look decor, these planters are definitely for you. 

Affordable: The price for metal planters is low. Plus, you can always reuse any of your metal containers as a pot for your plants.


Overheat: Metals are known to absorb heat quickly. The surface tends to be overheated when it stays under the sun. This can damage your plants’ roots. To avoid this problem, you could use a cachepot with your metal containers.

Rust: Some fertilizers can react to metal pots. In the rainy season, humidity and rainfall can make your pot degrade. Therefore, your planters should be painted with a non-toxic inhibitor to prevent rust damage. 

Drainage: Metals are not porous so the water can be stuck inside the planter and damage your plant roots. Make sure to choose pots with enough drainage holes. You can also choose plants that tolerate standing water and flooded areas. 

Weight: Metal containers, especially those made from cast iron are extremely heavy and so aren’t suitable as garden planters. 

Toxins: Metal containers are made from aluminium, iron, zinc. These toxins are often released over time which can harm your garden plants. 

5. Terracotta planters

what is the best material for planters

Terracotta, or ‘terra cotta’, is an Italian term for baked clay. Terracotta made from light-colored clay is one of the most common natural materials for planters and works fine in the average home container garden.

In a nutshell: Terracotta outdoor planters look great in some natural look gardens. Though they are cheap when small, they can become very heavy and expensive rather quickly.


Attractive appearance: Its color ranges from orange and brown. The high iron content brings a rich, earthy, and cozy tone to your planter. The color goes well with most design styles that don’t require an industrial look. 

Excellent drainage: The porous surface allows air and water to pass through easily. It prevents soggy soil and protects the root. It is the best friend for drought-resistant plants like cactus that need well-drained soil. 

Affordable: Terracotta’s cost and quality is remarkably diverse – from super cheap to super expensive. You can always find a pot in your budget. 

Durability: Terracotta is a durable material. High-quality terracotta planters are frost resistant. Terracotta planters with a shiny glaze on the inside last longer as the seal prevents the planters from leaching moisture.


Heavy: Terracotta is extremely heavy compared to other materials for planters. Its weight makes it a good choice for a big plant but at the same time, it becomes hard to move around.

Brittle: They are easily broken if you drop them or leave them outside during a cold frost. When moisture leaches through terra cotta, this can create pockets of water that freeze and do lots of damage to your outdoor pots.

6. Ceramic planters

Ceramic and terracotta planters have a lot in common. They are both attractive, heavy, and durable. However, there are some differences between the two that you should consider. 

In a nutshell: Ceramic has a warm aesthetic and is generally found in smaller pot sizes. Outdoor pots made of ceramic should be protected from strong winds or cold weather that could cause wear and tear.


Lacquer glaze: Ceramic planters usually come with a layer of lacquer. This glaze prevents the soil from losing its moisture, so you don’t need to water your plant so frequently. 

Attractive appearance: Ceramic is different from terracotta whose color is a warm tone by default. Ceramic planters come in different standard colors and can have a shiny glaze which amplifies their appearance.

Durability: Like terracotta, ceramic planters can be used for a long time. Just don’t drop them, and make sure strong gusts of wind won’t topple them!


Unprofessional appearance: Ceramic planters can become chipped, stained, and worn over the years of service they are expected to fulfil, especially in high-traffic areas such as in restaurant patios or other commercial situations.

Vulnerable to weather: These pots are much more vulnerable to frost than terracotta planters. Frost or cold weather can crack your pots. Therefore, make sure to bring your pots in when the temperature drops. 

7. Concrete planters 

what is the best material for planters

Concrete planters are another beautiful option for medium-sized plants and plant displays. They have a functional look that can look antique and aged, or cold and industrial.

In a nutshell: Concrete containers are heavy compared to clay pots but are long-lasting with the right maintenance.


Durability: Concrete planters are made from cement which is used for buildings. Therefore, a concrete planter is sturdy and can be used from season to season. Concrete containers are harder to crack, or break compared to ceramic and terracotta. 

Heat insulation: These outdoor pots can keep the soil at a warm, stable temperature and offer some degree of UV protection. This is suitable for plants from warmer climates and protects the root from large temperature changes. 

Weight: Concrete planters are heavy; therefore, they are suitable for large plants that need some stability. 

Related article: How to decorate with large planters


Vulnerable to low temperature: when winter hits, this pot is not a good option. Water can enter the pores of the pot in winter. When water drops or rights below or above the freezing point, it can cause the material to expand or shrink. This process can lead to cracks. 

Weight: Its heaviness may work for big trees but can also make it difficult to move around. You’d better decide the best place to put it before purchasing and installing one. 

Maintenance: Like terra cotta, clay, and other stone materials, concrete planters can become an eye-sore when left outdoors. The visual appeal of concrete planters can become ruined with a build-up of lime, moss, and salt deposits that stain the outer surface and need to be scrubbed to remove..

8. Fiberglass planters

what is the best material for planters

Fiberglass planters are made by molding spun glass fibers and hold them together with resin. Despite being a newcomer, this type of container gets a lot of spotlight because of its versatility, durability, and suitability to professional landscapes.

In a nutshell: Fiberglass planters are the all-round solution for any kind of customer from simple home garden applications to full-scale professional deployment.

Related article: Why you should get ‘made-in-Vietnam’ fiberglass planters.


Lightweight: Fiberglass planters are lightweight like plastic. You can easily move fiberglass planters around your house, garden, or office space without much effort or fear of damaging the planter.

Attractive appearance: Fiberglass planters come in different shapes and sizes. They are elegant, suitable for a casual garden or a commercial one. Fiberglass has a sleeker appearance that suits modern design trends and for those that want a professional-looking planter for years to come.

Low maintenance: The planter is weather-resistant, shatter-proof, and UV-resistant. Layers of protective coating means you don’t need to worry if the color will fade. Occasional cleaning with mild soap solution can help it look new. 

Durability: Once you purchase your pots, they will last forever. Its durability exceeds that of the other 7 materials we discussed today. Due to its natural resistance to weathering, fiberglass planters are great for challenging applications, such as decorating resort pools.


Initial price: these pots can be more expensive than others. However, considering its durability, it’s worth every cent of your investment. 

No harsh washing: The planters are long-lasting, but washing them using harsh chemicals, stiff brushes, and an abrasive sponge can damage the coating of your planter.

So, what is the best material for your planters? Combining all of the advantages of other materials, fiberglass is truly the winner. It meets all of the expectations for a planter. It has an eye-catching appearance and design, excellent durability, and a low maintenance, lightweight, and robust build quality.

Fiberglass planters may be a bit pricey at the beginning, but for a one-off cost, you will have the benefits of a well-made and long-lasting professional product.

Choosing the best planter material is just the first step when taking care of potted plants. To get plants that thrive, check out our article on the factors that create the best plant pot.

Indoor fiberglass planters

How Vietnam Creative Design Manufacturing Can Help You

Our company is proud to be a high-quality fiberglass planter manufacturer. We offer a wide selection of planters, but we can also tailor your design.

To produce the finest handmade fiberglass planters for some of the best-known brands in the world, our planters go through a complex operation. If you are curious about this process, see how fiberglass planters are made in our factory

As a company that operates globally, we are well versed in the tricky nature of sourcing from overseas. To get clarity on your biggest challenges right now, send us a message with your most burning questions and our team of engineers and sales consultants will provide the solutions you’ve been waiting for.

Are You Ready To Work With Us?

Whether you require bespoke planters tailor-made for your project or just want to get your hands on a supply of our world-class planters, reach out to our team today and let’s create something special!

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