Nothing can quite give your space a fresh, welcoming look like lush greenery. With so many varieties of plants available, the possibilities for customizing plant designs are virtually endless. For unique finishing touches, getting creative with planter material is an easy way to customize designs. Planter material is an important consideration, especially when selecting between wood planters or fiberglass planters.
Before shopping options from these two types of popular planter materials, take the time to understand their unique characteristics, from maintenance and appearance to durability, cost, and ease of use. Choosing the right planter material for your needs will help you liven your interior and exterior spaces with minimal effort. Take a look at the following pros and cons of fiberglass and wood planters before deciding on a foundation for your greenery.
As with many spaces, deciding on the aesthetic you’re trying to achieve is one of the first steps in choosing a planter. Both wood and fiberglass planters are favorites among consumers for their design appeal. Whether you’re including them in design projects for residential or commercial spaces, these planters stand out for the following attributes.
When considering an accent with a natural, warm appeal, wood planters should be high on your list of choices. Natural wood—with its dozens of varieties, distinctive grain patterns, and tones—is an enduring design element that has become increasingly popular in recent years, most noticeably with the popularity of hardwood flooring and accents.
It’s no wonder that it also is a leading design element for planters. Some of the most popular woods include cedar, teak, redwood, and pine. However, it’s important to note the distinctions between these types of woods. Pine dents and rots easily, while cedar and teak naturally resist rot. With a liner and protective coating, many varieties of wood—including mahogany and oak—can transform into planters for interior use.
Wood is also a flexible choice for different styles since it has the natural ability to adapt to various settings, from casual and rustic to sophisticated and upscale.
Fiberglass planters are also highly adaptable to different settings and styles. This makes them an ideal choice if you want a distinct look, whether modern, earthy, traditional, or sophisticated.
Fiberglass planters—constructed of spun glass fibers and resin material and then covered with automotive-grade paint—can mold into an extensive variety of shapes, finishes, textures, and hues. Many reputable manufacturers also offer customization, providing you with even more opportunities to achieve a personalized look. Because of the construction process, fiberglass planters appear high-end, making them compatible with upscale furnishings.
After appearance, one of the most important features of a planter is durability. It’s not likely that you want to repeatedly replace your vessels, even if you’re dedicated to planting annuals.
When exposed to varying weather conditions—including rain, humidity, snow, or heat—wood planters will deteriorate more quickly than fiberglass planters. The rate of deterioration depends on the type of wood and whether it’s finished properly. For instance, cedar and teak will often perform better than other types of wood. However, with the right care, you can extend the life of your wood planters, no matter which type of wood you select. By sealing and varnishing your wood planter, you minimize the impact that weather conditions have on the level of deterioration. It’s important to inspect wood planters from season to season to determine if sealant or varnish needs reapplying.
Unfortunately, most wood planters are susceptible to splitting and damage caused by rotting, insects, and other natural forms of deterioration. They will eventually need to be replaced after several seasons.
The same is true for wooden planters used indoors. Paint, varnish, and sealants can protect them from indoor humidity, including exposure to moisture when watering your plants. However, they will typically have a shorter lifespan than fiberglass planters.
Because of their composition, some of the most durable planters are made of fiberglass. That means you can leave them out in the rain, heat, and snow year-round without any risk of them being shattered or cracked.
The level of care is also minimal. Fiberglass planters retain their original luster season after season. Spraying them with water or washing them with a soft cloth and mild soap and water will remove any dirt.
Ease of Use
Other important considerations when choosing planters is ease of use and maintenance. Since they started gaining popularity in the past few decades, fiberglass planters quickly gained a reputation for being lightweight and low-maintenance. Wood planters are heavier and have more maintenance requirements.
Wood planters will naturally vary in weight, depending on the type of wood, size, and thickness of the container. Generally, most wood planters will be heavier than their fiberglass counterparts of the same size. If you’re planning to move a wood planter from place to place to take advantage of sunlight, for example, it may be advisable to add a foundation with wheels.
Wood planters also require a level of care to ensure their longevity. In addition to regularly sealing them to protect the color and finish, it’s recommended to line them with plastic to avoid rotting from exposure to dirt and water.
Another important consideration is the use of chemicals on wood as a preservation step. This is especially true if you’re planning to use your planter for vegetables, herbs, or fruit. These chemicals can leach into the soil and, consequently, into your produce.
If you don’t want to spend a significant amount of time on maintenance for your planters, but don’t want to forgo a quality look, fiberglass is an ideal choice. Not only are they easy to move because of their lightweight yet durable construction, care is also minimal. No matter your climate zone, you can leave fiberglass planters outdoors all year long. They will not crack, shatter, or fade. To maintain them, you simply clean them with mild soap and water and a soft cloth.
The cost of wood planters and fiberglass planters will vary based on various factors, including size and quality. But there are other factors that can contribute to the final price tag, particularly when you’re searching for a wood container.
As with wood flooring and furniture, the cost of a wood planter will largely depend upon the type of wood you select. Teak, cedar, and redwood—which perform better than many other types of woods but are more limited in availability—will be more expensive than pine, for example.
Quality fiberglass planters may or may not be less expensive than their wood counterparts. It all depends on which type of wood you’re comparing them to. However, fiberglass planters will often emerge as the best buy because of their longevity. Constructed to last for years, without the high maintenance requirements of wood planters, fiberglass planters are a much more cost-effective container for long-term use.
When choosing a planter, it’s always important to take numerous factors into consideration, from appearance to maintenance. Doing so can help you determine which planter fits your vision for your landscaping projects, as well as your day-to-day commitment to keeping them sustainable from season to season.