When is a metal planter not right?

When it comes to choosing a container for your garden there are a myriad to choose from. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. As well as all the colours under the rainbow. Also, they can be made from a wide range of materials, making it difficult to know which is the best. There are advantages and disadvantages for most of them, but let’s consider two of the most popular. Metal and plastic containers tend to be the container of choice for a great many people. With metal being a very trendy option at present. On the surface it appears to be a durable material to choose. But there are a number of reasons why such a choice should be carefully weighed up. Because metal is not always good for the garden.

The problems associated with metal containers

metal containerThere’s no denying that metal containers can be a very attractive and decorative choice. They are extremely hard-wearing and it’s highly unlikely they will chip or crack. However, little insulation is provided and they tend to heat up very quickly. Both of which can be serious problems for the roots inside. The soil will freeze easily and also dry out. Both of which can cause serious damage to the roots.

You also need to be aware that metal will not provide any drainage and holes will need to be drilled in the bottom of the container to allow excess water to escape. Weight is another consideration to bear in mind because some metal containers can be exceedingly heavy. And when filled with soil and plants it will be difficult to move them.

Plastic containers could be a better option

plastic containers for gardeningWe’re not champions of any kind of plastic container but there are certain times when they have their advantages. To start with plastic is very versatile and can be made to look like many other materials, without the associated cost. They are also available in the complete spectrum of colours. It’s a cheap material to use, which is why most plants, when bought from a commercial grower, come in a plastic container. There are few restrictions regarding shape and size, when it comes to making plastic containers and are light and easy to move around.

There are, however, problems associated with plastic containers too. How many times have you read about plastic being a problem when it comes to disposal. The oceans are swimming with it, it doesn’t degrade so can’t be put in landfills, it can be recycled but the process is very expensive, the list goes on. Unfortunately, plastic doesn’t hold up well when it’s exposed to sunlight, water and high temperatures. Certain type of plastic can leach very toxic chemicals into the soil, many of which are hazardous to humans. Before you spend any money on plastic containers be sure to check the underside where there are numbers marked that indicate the type of plastic it is made from. The safest for growing edible plants are 1,2,4 and 5.

So there you have it. Both metal and plastic have benefits, but they also have their issues too. It really depends on what you are looking for, the type of plants you will be planting, the location of the containers and what kind of style you’re trying to create in your garden.