Fiberglass planters can make a great addition to any indoor or outdoor space. They offer a wide range of shapes, colors and finishes to work with, to the extent that you may actually find all this choice a bit confusing. If that’s indeed the case, then take a look at eight key factors to consider when choosing fiberglass planters, and be sure to also check out our guide to choosing the right colors for your plant pots.
But let’s assume you’ve already cleared these hurdles, and a brand new fiberglass planter graces your interior or your garden as you’re reading this. What’s next? While fiberglass planters require minimal maintenance, they still need to be handled with proper care to keep looking like they’re new. Here are your planter maintenance dos and don’ts – a few important things to keep in mind to make the most of your fiberglass pots.
Fiberglass Planters Dos and Don’ts
DO Use a Mild Soap Solution
Indoor and outdoor fiberglass planters need to be cleaned regularly to remove dirt and dust accumulation. To clean indoor fiberglass plant containers, wipe down their exterior with a damp cloth, lightly removing persistent dirt. For outdoor planters with a smooth, glossy finish, it’s best to use warm soapy water and a soft sponge. The same mild soap solution can be used together with a soft bristle brush to remove dirt, stains, mold, mineral and/or algae deposits from ribbed and textured planters, as well as from planters with matte finishes. After washing your planters, rinse them thoroughly with clean water.
DO Inspect Each Fiberglass Planter on a Regular Basis
Durable as they are, fiberglass planters can sustain scratches or chips if abused. Although superficial damage doesn’t affect the performance of fiberglass planters, it can negatively impact their aesthetic appeal. Leaving small cracks and chips exposed could allow debris and water to get under the protective finish. Because debris accumulation and water infiltration may cause the protective layer to flake and/or chip with time, it’s important to inspect your fiberglass planters for superficial damage after cleaning them. As well, the longer specific types of stains and dirt (e.g. mineral buildup) are left on fiberglass surfaces, the harder it is to remove them. Thus, it’s best to get rid of dirt and stains as soon as you observe them.
DO Repair Your Planters When Necessary
When it comes to fiberglass planters, small scratches can be easily repaired with touch-up paint. Deep scratches, chips and dents can be buffed out or filled with epoxy. To ensure good adhesion, dents should be sanded lightly with fine-grit sandpaper before applying epoxy. After epoxy dries completely, use fine-grit sandpaper to level out the repaired areas and touch them up with paint to match the surrounding color.
Touch-up paint kits are available for different fiberglass planter finishes. For durability and aesthetic purposes, it’s important to use kits that contain high-quality automotive- or marine-grade paints. Although you may notice a slight difference between the touch-up paint and existing finish, the newly applied paint will eventually get the same “aged” look, as long as the correct shade has been selected.
DO Use High-quality Wax
For added protection and a glossier finish, you may want to apply a coat of high-quality marine-grade wax to your outdoor fiberglass planters every six months. Marine-grade wax contains sealers that fill microscopic pitting in the finish coat, providing a smooth, reflective, like-new surface. What’s more, regular cleaning and waxing will restore the protective finish to factory performance, prolonging the lifespan of your fiberglass planters significantly.
DON’T Use Harsh Chemicals and Abrasives
If you’re trying to remove persistent dirt or stains from your fiberglass planters, don’t use harsh chemicals. Because some chemicals can damage the protective coating, specific cleaning products can ruin the visual appeal of your fiberglass planters. You should also avoid using stiff brushes, abrasive sponges, steel wool or other abrasives that can leave deep scratches in the protective layer of your planters. As well, you should never use a pressure washer to clean your fiberglass planters. Though pressure washing your plant containers may speed up the cleaning process, excessive pressure could damage the paint and even knock over tall planters.
DON’T Mishandle Fiberglass Planters
Although fiberglass planters are lightweight, some planters may need to be emptied to transport them safely, without damage. This applies especially to large fiberglass planters. Tugging, pushing or incorrectly twisting these planters could lead to breaks in the rim. As well, fiberglass planters must be large enough to accommodate the roots of the plants that will be installed. If a tree with strong roots grows too large for a fiberglass planter, for instance, it could create outward pressure causing damage to the planter. It’s also very important to use potting soil formulated specifically for container gardening. Regular garden soil (dirt) tends to retain more water, which will apply excessive force to the walls of fiberglass plant containers. This may lead to structural damage particularly in large fiberglass planters.
DON’T Set Your Planter On Grass or Dirt
You will notice that your fiberglass planters typically come with feet to keep them up off the ground. Setting your planter directly on grass or dirt could cause it to sink down into the ground after repeated watering. This will reduce the drainage of the planter, and can begin to discolor the base of your planter. In addition, it will become much more difficult to move if you ever have to relocate it.
Due to the weight of soil, drainage material and plants, it is important to ensure that the planter feet are level and stable. Otherwise, the planter could tip or become damaged with uneven weight distribution. If you ever need to move the planter, this should be rather easy as the planters are light, and the only weight is that of the plant and soil.
Winter Tips for Your Fiberglass Planters
The decisions you make when selecting plant containers for your design project have a major impact on the care your planters will need during the winter. Most planters have a very limited life, and the plants that you’ve nourished and cared for will be at risk if your containers fail to perform in more challenging, subzero temperatures.
An important consideration to keep in mind here is that containers made of porous materials, such as ceramic, terracotta and concrete, tend to crack when temperatures drop below freezing. That’s because porous materials absorb water, which freezes and expands in cold weather, damaging the planters.
Fiberglass planters, on the other hand, allow for everything that others lack. They can stand up to extremely low temps while maintaining the look you’ve chosen, and they do not need special attention when the seasons change making them the best choice for your plants. For more information on this, make sure you read our in-depth comparison of fiberglass with 6 other popular planter materials.
The first thing you need to do, however, is buy fiberglass planters that are meant for outdoor use. High-quality outdoor fiberglass planters, like the planters we make available at Jay Scotts Collection, are made of commercial-grade fiberglass and have a durable finish that is achieved through the application of top-quality marine- or automotive-grade coatings.
Fiberglass planters are engineered to preserve their fresh new look and durability for many years. Through normal use, you should not have to change the container due to cracks, breaks or loss of color. They need little attention when used in climate controlled environments, especially when you keep them indoors. But even then, an occasional cleaning might be necessary to minimize dust accumulation that can dull the look. We recommend that every time you tend to your plants, inspect the planters for dust and dirt buildup. Frequent watering of plants can spill over to the planters themselves and attract dirt.
To keep them looking new, a simple non-abrasive cleaning solution of vinegar and water or a mild soap in a spray bottle will remove any dirt and debris that has built up. Spray on the solution and wipe clean with a soft cloth. After this simple process you will notice that they are as beautiful as the day you purchased them.
Unlike traditional terracotta planters, or other natural materials, fiberglass, with proper drainage holes, won’t freeze and break when used outside – even during long, harsh winters. Sun, rain, snow, ice or cold weather will never negatively affect the look nor deteriorate the material. Just like some cars and boats made of fiberglass, a mild soap and a soft cloth will keep the planters pristine through all weather conditions. When cleaned periodically, your planters will maintain the luster and finish you have chosen for your design.
Larger containers used outside can be sprayed with a garden hose and the same cleaning solution used for indoor planters. Use your non-abrasive cleaner in a spray bottle with a chamois cloth for cleaning. Spray on the solution and wipe clean with cloth. Never use steel wool or other abrasive materials. They will dull the luster and remove the finish.
Oh, but don’t forget the plants themselves! While the planters will maintain their look throughout the year, the plant may not. Make sure you have plants that can thrive in all climates. If not, enjoy the fact that the fiberglass planters are lightweight and can be moved to locations that better serve the health of the plant. Check your planting area to make sure you have plants that will last the winter…..we know the containers will!
Jazz Up Your Designs with Our Fiberglass Planters
For interior decorators and landscapers looking to enliven areas and create interesting visual effects, plants are obviously an ideal choice. Another obvious way to jazz up spaces even more and create a truly unique, impactful ambience is to use beautiful planters. If you would now like to add some high-quality fiberglass planters to your next design project, browse our extensive collection of universal fiberglass planters!