Container Gardening: Terracotta or Wood?

by on June 22, 2012


There are a lot of options for container gardening, but when you are environmentally-focused and tend to avoid plastic-based products, there are two basic types of garden planters that come to mind: terracotta pots and wooden planters. While both are solid options for the urban garden environment, there are considerations for both that you should be aware of when deciding what type of garden planters to use in your space.

Both terracotta and wooden planters have a simple look which can be quite appealing in the outdoor environment. On the downside, terracotta pots can be prone to cracking and breaking easily while most wooden garden planters are built to be sturdy enough to withstand the type of minor falls that happen on occasion in the garden.

Terracotta, while beautiful and versatile, is also a notoriously dry and porous material that wicks water away from the soil, requiring more frequent watering especially in warmer weather.

Our preference more most applications is for wooden planters. They have a more natural appearance and can be found in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles. A word of caution when looking for wooden planters for the urban garden: know the source material of your planters. You want to find untreated wood planters or those treated with earth and environmentally-conscious products. Treated wood contains chemicals that can leech into the soil and into the vegetables, fruits and herbs you grow in them.

Check out our great selection of garden boxes and wooden planters in the shop!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rebecca February 7, 2013 at 12:28 PM

I have found two problems with wood planters: 1) Termites and 2) They biodegrade much faster than ceramic pots. I love the look of them and I think they are great for some applications, as long as the wood is a sustainable source and they aren’t treated with toxic stains or paints. But with normal exposure and watering they do fall apart quicker,; the window boxes and long planters I’ve purchased have lost their bottoms to rot and just fallen out. I even had them up on bricks for good drainage. The exception seems to the old wine barrels. They seem to be pretty tough.


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