Frost Family Farm

Plant Containers: Different Types

History & Uses

Containers for plants have existed for thousands of years. They have been used for decorative fashions, reducing the need to kneel or bend over and providing easy access for gathering flowers, herbs, vegetables, and other plants and trees. They can be used indoors and outdoors and placed in optimal locations for sun exposure and water absorption. Containers can transport and transplant plants to other areas in different regions worldwide. This simple yet unique design has caused a revolutionary experience for botany that has benefited the earth and humans since its invention. 

Different Types of Containers

Plant containers come in all shapes, sizes, designs, and colors. The materials to create pots are no different. The main different materials consist of ceramic (glazed and nonglazed), fiber, plastic, wood, metal, fiberglass (not to be mistaken for fiber), concrete, and foam. These have different advantages and disadvantages, depending on the specific geographical location, usage, and other aspects like environmental.

Ceramic Containers

Ceramics are by far the oldest form of containers. Clay is used in combination with heat to turn it into ceramic. Materials are readily available but require time and labor. This is why ceramic pots can become expensive quickly. They can also be subjected to cracks, chips, or breaks. They are helpful for plants that require heat and low humidity. Ceramics are permeable, allowing airflow between the material, soil, and root structure. However, it can cause root systems to become rootbound, causing the roots to wrap around in a circle. All other materials but fiber may create a rootbound issue. Ceramic does not decompose. Glazed pots can provide safety from cold or freezing temperatures, an alternative for colder regions in zones six and below.  

Fiber Containers

Fiber pots can be made from compressed cardboard or non-woven fabric (as seen in our photo above). The compressed cardboard can be planted directly into the ground and decompose over time. Fiber pots are porous like ceramic, which give way to excellent airflow. Fiber containers require growers to water these types of pots more frequently because water vapors can evaporate faster than other pots. It promotes healthy root structures because it may not cause plants to become root-bound. Fiber pots will breakdown and decompose, ensuring they are eco-friendly.

Plastic Containers

Plastic pots are widely used throughout the world. They are made quickly and available through the mechanical processing of polymers that derive from fossil fuels. Depending on the materials (some thinner plastics crack easily), they do not break easily, adding to their overall stability, but they can warp depending on heat or storage. If stored incorrectly (i.e., heavy objects placed onto plastic pots), plastic can be reshaped but may require some finesse. Plastics can come in different sizes, colors, and shapes, but they are overall light in weight. White reflects sun rays, and black absorbs the rays.

Wood Containers

Wood is a good alternative to other containers that do not biodegrade. However, varying thicknesses and types of wood may decompose quickly or slower than others. This provides an eco-friendly alternative to other containers. Wood can be morphed into various shapes, sizes, and uses through construction. They can be painted or stained to promote long-lasting permanence. Users can utilize wood from containers initially used for other purposes like pallets, barrels, or different reusable wooden frames. Wood containers are porous, like ceramics and fiber pots.

Metal Containers

Metal can be shaped similarly like wood but may require tools. They are not porous, unlike other materials. Metal does not protect from heat or cold because they absorb temperatures and do not act as an insulator. Users can utilize metal (e.g., galvanized, copper, etc.) buckets or other containers that were previously used for other purposes.

Fiberglass Containers

Fiberglass containers do not fade or decompose over time because they are unaffected by water and chemicals. They are also impervious to any weather, which makes them versatile for indoor and outdoor use. Despite these benefits, they can break easily and do not protect plants from cold or hot temperatures.

Concrete Containers

Concrete pots can be shaped into any design imaginable. They are strong, last a long time, and are porous. Eventually, weather conditions will weaken the structure of concrete and cause it to crack, especially when it holds water during cold temperatures. They are also heavy, so it is best to place it in a permanent location.

Foam Containers

Foam pots are easily accessible and cost-effective compared to other materials, but they are fragile and break easily. Foam pots are excellent insulators to protect root structures. They can be cut to shape and size and lined on the inside of other pots that are not protective from temperatures. Users may find old foam coolers an excellent use to turn into a foam plant container.


Planters have numerous applications and uses. Depending on the material, the advantages and disadvantages may be abundantly clear to the user. Other usages may not be as easily observable. Frost Family Farm hopes this information was useful, and the user finds a container that best fits their needs. If the reader requires further assistance or has additional questions, feel free to contact us! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more updates!


Deike, C. (2020, July 17). Pros & cons of different types of garden containers. Garden Gate. Retrieved February 28, 2023, from