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Materials and Finishes

Modern plant containers are an integral part of interior landscape design. A wide range of shapes, sizes and colours are available to suit every decorative style.

Containers are made from a variety of materials and come with an even greater range of finishes. The most common materials are glass reinforced plastic (known as GRP or fibreglass), aluminium, steel, glazed earthenware and stoneware, unglazed terracotta, moulded plastic, wood and concrete. Each material has some distinct properties as well as a range of advantages and disadvantages.

Here we take a look at these materials and give some advantages and disadvantages of each type to help you make an informed choice.

Glass Reinforced Plastic

Glass Reinforced Plastic

Properties

Lightweight, waterproof, durable and available in a huge range of shapes, sizes and finishes, including some that are almost indistinguishable from other materials.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

Lightweight, available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and finishes, inexpensive, waterproof, resistant to cracking, resistant to dents, scratches and crazing, ideal for all growing systems, reusable and can be refurbished.

Disadvantages

Special shapes and colours have to be made to order

Aluminium

aluminium

Properties

Lightweight, waterproof and durable. Aluminium containers are usually round as they are often made by a spinning process, however containers can be made in square and rectangular shapes by pressing and folding the sheet metal. Polished and brushed finishes are both readily available. It is also possible to have a coloured lacquer applied.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

Lightweight, waterproof, available in a wide variety of sizes and finishes, resistant to cracking and crazing, reusable and recyclable, ideal for all growing systems.

Disadvantages

Relatively expensive, limited range of shapes, can get dented and scratched.

Moulded Plastic

moulded-plastic

Properties

Lightweight containers available in a wide variety of sizes and colours, though shapes are limited. Often sold at the budget end of the market.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

Lightweight, waterproof, inexpensive, available in a wide range of colours, suitable for use with all types of growing system.

Disadvantages

Limited range of shapes, styles and surface finishes.

Stainless Steel

stainless-steel

Properties

Durable but heavy containers. Available in a similar range of finishes as aluminium. Round containers are common, but there is a wide variety of square and rectangular containers made by folding sheet metal.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

Strong, waterproof, resistant to scratches and dents, suitable for all types of growing system, available in a wide variety of sizes, recyclable and reusable.

Disadvantages

Relatively expensive, heavy, shows fingerprints and other greasy deposits, limited range of shapes available.

Wood

wood

Properties

Lightweight, waterproof, durable and available in a huge range of shapes, sizes and finishes, including some that are almost indistinguishable from other materials.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

Lightweight, available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and finishes, inexpensive, waterproof, resistant to cracking, resistant to dents, scratches and crazing, ideal for all growing systems, reusable and can be refurbished.

Disadvantages

Special shapes and colours have to be made to order