Choosing the Most Durable Outdoor Planter: Fiberglass, Metal, Plastic

When thoughtfully chosen, outdoor planters and containers can be the perfect accent to exterior designs. Varying finishes, colors and textures can offer a unique highlight to installations. However, looks alone can’t always be the deciding factor when choosing outdoor planters. Outdoor planters must be able to last through the sun, rain, snow, sleet and maintain its finish through piercing UV rays. When choosing the most durable outdoor planter material for installations, it is important to balance overall durability, price, weight, appearance, and care requirements in your selection process. The most commonly selected outdoor planter materials are typically fiberglass, metal, and plastic, and have different pros and cons to consider in each of these categories.

Fiberglass Planters

Durability

Fiberglass planters are one of the most durable outdoor planter options. Spun glass fibers held together with hardened resin are then sanded and painted with an automotive-grade finish to form a finished fiberglass planter. An ideal choice for outdoor applications, fiberglass planters are weather-resistant, and can withstand a variety of outdoor elements. From cold winters to blazing hot summers, the exterior finish will stay intact despite constant UV rays, as exposure to the elements won’t corrode the planter exterior.

Price

Fiberglass planters are usually affordably priced, and are one of the most economical outdoor planter choices especially considering overall durability. Though their initial cost puts them at a higher price point than plastic planters, fiberglass planters offer a high-quality look with long-lasting durability that is worth the expense.

Weight

The light weight of fiberglass planters make them incredibly easy to move. Even extra large outdoor fiberglass planters are easy to pick up and move without too much effort.

Appearance

With a variety of available colors, finishes, textures and shapes, fiberglass planters are easy to customize for any design. From modern squares and rectangles, to large round planters and abstract silhouettes, fiberglass planters can easily be made into a variety of standard and customizable shapes.

Care

Fiberglass planters require very little maintenance. With just an infrequent cleaning and wax, outdoor fiberglass planters will maintain their coating for ages without attention. Review our guide on cleaning fiberglass planters for more information on how to maintain their finish.

Metal Planters

Durability

Most commonly made out of steel and aluminum, metal planters are made to last. Constructed out of high-quality metal, they can withstand all sorts of weather conditions and foot traffic without chips, cracks or breaks.

Keep in mind that metal planters might not be an ideal choice for select installations and plantscapes. The sun’s rays can heat up metal planters and cause the soil to dehydrate. This means that the plant maintenance technician will have to carefully monitor soil moisture levels. 

Additionally, drainage holes are key for outdoor metal planters. Since metal planters aren’t permeable, drainage holes are needed to make sure water drains and won’t cause root rot to plants.

Weight

Weight for steel and aluminum planters can vary depending on which material is used. However—compared to fiberglass and plastic planters—metal planters are much heavier and harder to move, especially in larger dimensions. Though it is always recommended to make sure planters are ideally placed before planting greenery, it is especially important when working with metal planters.

Price

Metal planters are on the pricier side of the scale, especially compared to plastic planters. However, the overall durability and modern look makes the price well worth the impact they can have in a space.

Appearance

The sleek, industrial look of metal planters add elegance and polish to any outdoor space. Available in standard square, rectangle or rounded shapes, it’s easy to find a metal planter that’s ready to be placed wherever needed. Custom marine-grade metal planter shapes, dimensions, and finishes are also available.

Our selection of over 19 powder-coated finishes in a variety of colors offer a full range of customization options to take this outdoor planter option to the next level.

Care

Metal planters are long-lasting, but often require a little maintenance to keep them in top shape. Oxidation may occur over time which can give the planters a slight patina, which might be desired in some designs. However, a gentle wash with a mild soap and soft cloth will usually keep these planters sparkling. An occasional wax formulated for metal materials will also help to maintain the planter’s luster.

Plastic Resin Planters

Durability

Though plastic planters have the ability to withstand the elements, they will likely not last as long as metal or fiberglass options. Over long periods of time, plastic planters may experience damage due to exposure to outdoor elements.

Weight

The lightest outdoor planter option available, plastic planters are incredibly lightweight and easy to move. Though an empty extra large plastic planter might be somewhat cumbersome to place, it can typically be moved by a solo individual due to its weight.

Price

Plastic planters are one of the most affordable outdoor planter options available. Even extra large plastic planters are available at very economical prices, and their lighter weight can even result in reduced shipping costs.

Appearance

Plastic planters can be made in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and textures. They can take on the attractive qualities of faux stone, ceramic, terracotta pots, or wicker baskets, without the hassle of worrying if those natural materials will last when exposed to extreme weather conditions.

Care

Plastic planters require very little care to maintain and keep clean. Simply wash planter exteriors with a mild mixture of water and soap with a soft cloth.

The most durable outdoor planter for your usage will depend on how you prioritize the importance of some of these factors. For a long-term and un-changing outdoor installation, a fiberglass or metal planter may be the ideal choice. For outdoor installations that you’re looking to switch up seasonally, plastic planters will offer lots of affordable variety.

No matter what durable outdoor planter material you choose, each of these materials can elevate the character and style of any space. 

Explore our inventory of wholesale outdoor planters, or connect with our team for custom orders or any additional questions.

Allison is a budding plant person looking to share what she learns from horticulture and other subject matter experts. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Public Relations from Anderson University and is a SEO and Outreach Specialist at NewPro Containers. Her experience in PR and marketing has given her the skills to distill key facts and advice clearly and concisely across various platforms and mediums. When she is not researching new plants to add to her growing collection, she enjoys going on motorcycle rides and watching road-trip movies.

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