What is a Planter?

Malcolm Tatum

Planters are containers designed to hold various types of live plants and allow the plants to be placed around the home or office as part of the general d├ęcor. A planter can be a simple pot that provides a home for a single plant, or a larger box-style structure that is capable of comfortably containing several plants. There are a wide range of styles and types of planters available on the market today.

Some flower pots are made from terracotta clay.
Some flower pots are made from terracotta clay.

Perhaps the most common type of planter is the simple terracotta pot. Usually constructed with a round body that gradually widens from bottom to top and sports a wide lip, these pots are capable of containing nourishing soil and retaining moisture to help the plant grow. A hole in the bottom of the pot makes it possible for overly saturated soil to expel any excess moisture. Many terracotta pots also come with separate trays configured to match the design of the pot; these trays capture any water that may drain through the soil and prevent the water from damaging the area where the planter has been placed.

Petunias are a common flower that people put into planters.
Petunias are a common flower that people put into planters.

Today, the simple round planter is constructed with many different materials along with terracotta. Wood is a popular option for the pots, as are several different types of metals. Plastic planters are also very popular today, since they come in a wide range of colors and are relatively inexpensive.

Along with the pot planter, planter boxes are also very popular. These types of planters may be used in the home as a decorative piece on a table or recessed in open bookshelves. It is not unusual for a rectangular-shaped box planter to be positioned on the exterior of a windowsill, helping to dress both the exterior of the home and the window itself. There are even oblong box planters designed to line a walkway and provide an ever-changing collection of blooming plants to liven the look of the landscape.

Along with indoor planter and outdoor planter designs, there is also the hanging planter to consider. This type of planter is available in many different shapes and sizes. Because the planter is suspended from a ceiling, tree, or pole, a hanging planter helps to draw the eye up rather than down. Many planters of this type are used to house green and flowering plants that cascade over the edges of the planter and create a dramatic and pleasant appearance.

Planters are found in a number of retail outlets. Basic planter designs created using plastic or other inexpensive materials can be found in discount retail stores. Larger and more visually interesting planters can be found in home stores, decorating boutiques, and upscale department furniture stores. It is possible to purchase plastic planters for very little money, while metal planters are generally more expensive. However, it is often possible to find unusual and expensive planters at great prices by checking out yard sales and visiting thrift shops.

Planters allow live plants to grow indoors to enhance the ambience of a home or office.
Planters allow live plants to grow indoors to enhance the ambience of a home or office.

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Discussion Comments


It is a good idea to use planters for an herb garden, Heavanet. The thought makes me want to get ready for the spring planting season!


I love ceramic garden planters. They look great and provide a healthy environment to all kinds of plants. I usually plant one full of herbs and spices, and another with a variety of flowering plants. They brighten up my porch and mood all summer long.

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