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How to choose your planters?

Guide written by:
Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester

48 guides
Patio and balcony planters are the perfect solution for obtaining flourishing gardens and exteriors. Hanging, indoor, rectangular... planters can be composed of wood, zinc, terracotta or plastic and are available in various sizes. They even come with the ultimate accessory: a lattice for climbing plants!

Important features

  • Shape
  • Size
  • Purpose
  • Material

What is a planter?

Today, there exists many different shapes, sizes and uses for a planter. Whether small, large, indoor or climbing, there's a suitable container available to properly welcome any plant!

When we use the term "planter" we're generally referring to an elongated container where we can plant flowers, especially on a balcony. There are however containers of many other shapes, dimensions, and of varying purposes: to adorn a terrace, enhance the garden, produce vegetables or herbs, or decorate your home's interior.

To each plant his planter

Containers can be grouped into three categories: pots, containers and planters. For each category of container, specific plants are associated, and are then referred to in relation to this category: plants for pots, for planters, containers and hanging.


The planters are generally installed on the terrace or balcony. They become crucial decorating partners! Their strong point is without a doubt the fact that they are equipped with brackets that allow them to hang on a railing or banister. They can also be suspended, using a chain, to a ceiling, at which point they are referred to as hanging.

The main purpose of these containers is to take advantage of as much available space as possible to plant. They are mainly set aside for annual or biennial flowers, but can also be used for perennials. The goal is to use a combination of both perennials, who never need replacement due to their vegetable exoskeleton, and other species of plants that need to be changed every year; annual and biennial plants.  

The positive effect of flowers in hanging baskets or planters is just remarkable. Here are some factors to consider when choosing your planter:

  • The support. When the balcony is on a building, it is crucial to select a support with some sort of locking mechanism. This limits any and all possibility of the planter taking a long fall;
  • The bottom of the planter. In order to avoid any excess runoff during the watering process, it's best to obtain a planter tray if it is not provided along with it. Some models are even equipped with a water tank, which is very useful if you have a tendency  forget to water its flowers.

It's important to note that placing any hanging planters too high up should be avoided at all costs. If the balcony is not sufficiently sheltered and the risk of strong wind gusts is elevated, your planter can be damaged or worse yet, quite simply fall off the balcony. 

Different types of pots

 are usually intended for individual plants. They are available in a variety of shapes, dimensions, and can be composed of different materials, each with its own unique characteristics.

Terracotta pot

Its permeability provides increased contact between the roots and the air. Its one disadvantage is its weight. It's meant to be used on terrace or balcony with a plant tray.

Plastic pot

Practical due to its light weight, these come in every color of the rainbow. It has a significant disadvantage however, the lack of air flow to the roots requires a more regular repotting. Designed to be used on a terrace or balcony with a plant tray.

Ceramic pot 

Its main advantage is its aesthetically pleasing appearance. Ceramic pots makes use of bright colors and more original shapes, but their increased weight and fragility are real disadvantages. They can be used on both a balcony and a terrace as well as indoors with a plant tray, with the exception of the models that are equipped with a water tank.

Resin pot 

Similar to the plastic pot, it is light but also has the disadvantage of a general lack of permeability.

Resin pot holder

A pot holder is a pot equipped with a reservoir that allows for the conservation of water by reducing the frequency of watering for both indoor or outdoor use.

Zinc pot

More resistant to shocks, it is nonetheless very poorly insulated, and should only be used outdoor with plants that have an increased resistance to cold.

Planters: containers

Containers are reserved for outdoor use. They can just as easily be used for an individual plant, shrubs, or a plant medley, a group of plants that are grouped together according to their shape and their flowering intervals, or for herbs or vegetables.

Flower boxes 

Flower boxes are designed to accomodate plants or individual shrubs of medium size. They are therefore of a larger dimension, generally from 40 cm to 1 m high and can be rectangular or square in shape. They can be composed of wood, resin, or even concrete and are sealed up, with the exception of the holes used for the evacuation of water.

Vegetable boxes

Similar to flower boxes, usually composed of wood, they are big enough to plant several vegetables plants. Their distinguishing characteristic is the fact that they they can be  left opened, which means that it actually sits directly on the ground, with only the walls holding up the soil


Pergola or trellis containers 

A container attached to a pergola or trellis is the ideal solution when you want to plant a clematis climbing plant. Up to three plants, or more if multiple containers are connected, can be grown in often rectangle recepticle. The plant will take charge of expanding vertically on the trellis  or pergola, a guaranteed pleasing aesthetic effect!

Container with legs

These are perfect for the flower or vegetable garden, the goal being overwhelmingly practical, to spare your back! This type of container is also often used for a kitchen garden on a balcony.

These containers are generally composed of wood and have the advantage of being in perfect harmony with the environment. On the other hand, their life span is limited, due to the risk of the wood rotting. For long term preservation, treatment will be required for the containers. For a more permanent, long-term solution, we would recommended turning to treated wood bins, of the autoclave variety.

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Guide written by:

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester 48 guides écrits

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester
For the past several years, I've been running a landscape gardening and design service for both private homeowners and businesses. I manage a great team of professional landscapers. While our company designs and maintains green spaces, I use my expertise in tools and techniques to help clients keep up and enhance their flower beds and plant gardens.

I went to business school and got my start in life working in the hospitality industry, but I soon discovered I had a passion for landscaping and a green thumb to boot! I started landscaping for the local authority at just the right time: since some major infrastructural changes were underway in the community, I got tons of on-the-job technical experience.

When not at work, I'm just as passionate about gardening, something I share with my wife. Together, we designed and planted our garden from scratch. We take pride in making sure the entire garden, including our vegetable plot, is in tiptop shape. There's always a lot of DIY to do around the garden as well, whether you're building an arbour, maintaining the garden shed, putting down some paving, or fixing a fence.

After a day of gardening, we enjoy just sitting back and admiring the fruits of our labour, so to speak. We get more sun than the rest of the UK, so we're pretty lucky. Now, let us give back and help you with advice and tips for gardening tools, maintenance or improvement. You, too, will have a green thumb before you know it!

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