When it comes to outdoor planters and plant pots you’re spoiled for choice. There are more colours, materials, shapes and sizes available than ever before, so trying to decide what to use for your outdoor artificial plants and trees can be daunting.
Here’s what you need to know to choose the best planters and pots for your garden:
What do you need to consider when choosing outdoor planters?
When choosing outdoor planters and pots for your artificial plants and trees, you need to consider:
We’ll break down each of these considerations below.
Do outdoor planters and pots need drainage?
If there’s any chance of water getting in them, yes. While you won’t need to water your plants, the rain can fill them up over time if there’s nowhere for the water to go. For that reason, stick to planters and pots designed for outdoor use, or that can have a hole drilled into the bottom.
The Best Materials for Outdoor Planters
Terracotta: terracotta is the traditional, orange-toned pot, with a rough, porous texture. This type of pot material has some natural drainage and dries out quickly. Most terracotta isn’t completely frost-resistant and can crack when it gets extremely cold. That said, it doesn’t happen often and if your plant is in a spot that gets some sun during the day, you likely won’t have a problem. You can also find some that are frost-resistant.
Stone & Concrete: We’ll cover these two together since many stone-look planters are concrete. You can technically find carved stone planters, but they’re not exactly cheap (think hundreds or even thousands of pounds in some circumstances)! Both are almost indestructible, but that makes them relatively immovable, especially if they’re on the larger side.
You can find stone and concrete planters in almost any style, from natural-look basins and carved stones to regal planters.
Wood: Wood has a beautiful natural look and is generally a very Eco-friendly option (depending on the stains you use and where its sourced from) and is a good option for large, raised beds and bushes. The only downside of wood is they won’t last forever but are easy to replace every 10 years or so.
Metal: Metal pots are something you won’t necessarily find in every garden but are striking and beautiful when used right. From large rust troughs to small, galvanized pots, they all look beautiful. They aren’t always a good option for live plants since they can get very warm in the summer, but they’re a great choice for artificial plants and trees year-round.
Metal planters, usually made from steel or aluminum, are some of the most durable options available. They’re usually relatively heavy and need adequate drainage holes or they’ll hold water. If you choose metal planters that aren’t already rusted, you’ll need to keep them relatively clean and dry to prevent them from rusting.
Fiberglass: Fiberglass pots are a good choice if you want something that’s lightweight to move but looks like stone (or just about anything else you’re looking for!). They’re also weatherproof and colored fiberglass pots are usually painted with car paint, so last forever.
However, you can’t recycle them and they generally have a lot of toxins in, so it’s a material best avoided. Fortunately, there are plenty of recycled plastic options that offer the same results.
Plastic: Plastic pots are some of the most common you can find, and fortunately you don’t just have to think about the basic plastic pot new live plants come in. There are plenty of quality plastic and recycled plastic pot options available – many of which you can find in our store.
The main thing you need to keep in mind when purchasing plastic pots is to look for quality. You’ll find plenty of cheap plastic pots that often shatter when the temperature drops below freezing or fade in the sun, so make sure you buy quality planters from reputable sources. Many of our planters come with a manufacturer warranty, so that’s a way to guarantee your planters and pots will last for many years to come.
Woven Baskets or Reeds: Woven basket-look planters are a beautiful choice, but if you’re planning to use them outside, you may find they don’t last as long as other options. They will be fine through frost, heat, and are light and moveable, but they will start to rot quickly if you keep them in a wet area.
If you’re planning to “set and forget” your outdoor pots and planters, then you need to prioritize durability and level of maintenance needed. Pots rarely need much care, but if you don’t like that slightly aged, mossy look on your plant pots, you’ll need to give them a clean from time to time. Natural stone and wooden planters will attract this more than others, so take this into consideration. Metal planters will be one of the most resistant choices here.
How to Choose for Your Style of Garden
Certain pot styles lend themselves better to specific styles of garden. Knowing what look you want your garden to have (even if it’s not a specific style) and what type of artificial plants and trees you want to use will dictate what pots work best. Color is generally the most important factor when it comes to what works best with a specific plant, so the look of the planter is usually what you need to think about most.
The reality is you really can’t go wrong. Your garden is yours to do with as you please, so as long as it makes you happy, then you’re absolutely doing things right. That said, here are the best materials and styles to use for some of the most popular garden styles:
- Traditional Garden: this style is what is sounds like – that traditional European garden with strong shapes but soft flowers. You typically find neat box hedges and perfectly trimmed lawns. If you’re picturing the formal garden at a National Trust house or Heritage site, you’re on the right track. Use elegant stone pots, urns, and pedestals, with wooden planters.
- Cottage Garden: you can often think of this as a traditional garden let loose. You’ll typically have plenty of wildflowers and while you may have a tidy lawn and some topiary, everything is soft and has an all-natural look, with flowers spilling over onto pathways. Use terracotta, natural-look stone and cement pots (you can use plastic here for the same look), or woven pots.
- Contemporary: We’ll separate modern and contemporary here, so think of contemporary as anything that’s in the current style. There’s a big trend for low-maintenance gardens with large patios and artificial lawns, with a minimum amount of gardening to do. For this type of garden, the choice is entirely yours. You can lean toward any of the other styles, just try not to mix them all or you’ll end up with a hodgepodge.
- Modern/Minimalist: Another style that’s on-trend is minimalism, which is much like contemporary but taken much further. Here, you’ll find plenty of angular lines with neutral colors, usually made from stone and concrete. There will be touches of greenery, though rarely flowers. Use stone, concrete, plastic, or metal here, sticking to squares, rectangles, and cylinders with natural or smooth textures.
Choosing the Color of Planters For Your Outdoor Artificial Plants
Most people stick to a neutral color palette for their outdoor planters; grey, black, white, red-orange, brown, and natural stone colors are generally going to look good with any style of plant. If you plan to use painted planters and pots, then think about the color of leaves of the plants you’re using, and any adjacent plants. Some shades of bright blue, orange, and red might clash, so choose your plants carefully if you plan to use these colors.
How to Choose the Right Size Planter
To ensure your plants look natural, you need to choose the right size of planter. While your plants won’t need any room for roots, you may need to add something heavy to the base to keep it weighted. To get the most natural look, make sure you choose a planter that is no less than half the width of the tree and no less than a quarter of the height. You can increase the width or the height beyond that until you get to around 1.5 times the size of the plant, but you definitely don’t want to go smaller.
How to Plant Your Artificial Plants in Pots
To pot your artificial plant, you’ll need to choose something well-draining for your plant to sit in so it doesn’t move around in the pot. It will also need to weigh-down the pot if it’s not heavy in itself. For outside, you’re best choosing something like pebbles, gravel, or sand. You can use soil if you prefer, just know you may have to do some weeding from time to time.
We’ve put together a full step-by-step guide on how to re-pot your artificial plants, so click here for a detailed guide on the process.
Styling Tips For Your Outdoor Artificial Potted Plants and Trees
If you’re not a natural gardener, styling your outdoor potted artificial plants is all trial-and-error. Follow these styling tips and ideas below so you don’t have to feel your way through the dark:
- Mix-and-match plants in a corner of your patio, in planters of different sizes, shapes, and textures. If you want a sleek, contemporary look, try to stick to one color and one shape – either square or rounded. You can mix together tall rectangles and short squares, but by keeping to the same color (though you can mix up the shade) and general shape, you’ll keep that modern look.
- Try colorful planters to attract the eye to an area of interest – this may be a narrow passage way to another part of the garden or the doors to your summerhouse.
- Use tall vase planters to frame a doorway such as your front or back door. You’ll typically see modern planters here (such as our Capi Urban Smooth Rectangle Planter) with topiary trees, but you’re certainly not limited to this style.
- Use the same plant and container combination if you don’t want to create groupings of plants. Grouping mismatched plants and containers together in one place looks intentional, but spacing them six feet apart all around the very edge of your patio will look like you’ve used anything within reach. If you want to surround your patio with plants in pots, stick to the same thing. For example, artificial bamboo plants in troughs placed evenly around the patio will add plenty of privacy and greenery, while looking stylish and modern.
- Avoid using planters made from wood in damp areas. That corner of your patio that almost never sees the sun isn’t the best spot for a delicate woven planter. If there’s algae or moss growing on the paving or deck, use more robust pots like concrete or plastic.
- Try using multiple artificial plants in one big container rather than placing lots of little plants in individual pots on the ground. The more you can do to lift the eye, the better, especially if you’re working with a small space.
- Place a lantern by the base of large pots to get the light to reflect off the pot and the leaves at night. This is especially effective near pathways, but you can use it in other areas of the garden to show how much space is outside when the sun falls and draw people out in the summer.
Remember that ultimately, whatever works for you is what’s best for your garden – you don’t need to play by anyone else’s rules. That said, using the tips and tricks you’ve learned in this article will ensure that everyone who steps into your garden appreciates the beauty and effort that’s gone into creating a relaxing space. If you’re ready to find the perfect planters for your garden, start shopping our range now.