Planter boxes are awesome.

You can grow most plants you want in a planter box, even with a limited growing space.

But is there a way to improve their life? Can painting the planter box help with this?

You can paint your planter box to help improve its durability and aesthetics. Use the appropriate paint depending on the planter box made from wood, metal, or plastic. Use non-toxic paint especially when growing vegetables in the planter box.

If you’re growing to grow flowers or inedible plants, you can use any paint. But I would still suggest using it on the outside of the planter box.

In this post, I’ll help you understand which paint you can use, how often you need to paint your planter box, and how you can actually paint your planter box.

Let’s take a look.

Can I paint the inside of a planter box?

If you are growing flowers in the planter box, you can paint the inside. Don’t paint the inside if you’re planning to grow vegetables in the planter box. You want to prevent chemicals from leaching into the soil and affecting the vegetables.

You can certainly paint wooden planter boxes, and it’s actually quite common for people to do. It can even be a fun arts & crafts activity to do with your friends or your kids/grandkids. If your planters are holding edible plants, you’ll want to make sure that the type of paint you use is non-toxic. – Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO, Lawn Love

What are the benefits of painting a planter box?

The major benefit of painting the planter box is you increase the life of the material, especially wood or metal.

The paint, sealer, or stain will help keep the material away from moisture and prevent rot or rust for a longer time.

It will also protect the material from the harsh weather when the planter box is kept outdoors. The scorching sun or cold climate will not affect the material as much.

Painting the planter box will make it aesthetically appealing. You can use a paint that goes well against the outdoors or your house.

Many people spend so much money to adorn and add flair to their gardens by purchasing unique, one-of-a-kind things from expensive garden shops and nurseries. Frugal gardeners, on the other hand, realize that the same effect can be achieved with a little imagination and, often, a dash of paint, polish, or artistic flare! – Tiffany Payne, Orangeries UK

What are the drawbacks of painting a planter box?

You will need to spend money on the paint and materials like sandpaper, sealer, and primer when painting the planter box.

You will also need to spend some time for painting the planter box depending on how many planters you have.

If you don’t want to spend the time, you would need to hire a professional that would cost you some money.

 You need to be careful when painting a planter box you use for growing vegetables. You want to prevent the paint from reaching the inside of the planter box and the potting soil.

The paint may contain chemicals that affect the life of your plants. You can choose to use non-toxic paints that are harmless to the plants, but those can cost a little more.

Painting your planter boxes is a great way to spruce up your garden, with one caveat. It is possible to poison your plants if you use synthetic paint containing chemicals such as lead or mercury. Especially if you are planting to grow edible crops, you want to stay away from synthetic paints. – Tom Monson, Owner, Monson Lawn and Landscape

What paint is safe for planter boxes?

The type of paint you use would depend on your preference. You can use regular paint or you can use something that is plant safe.

This would also depend on whether you want to paint the entire planter box, both inside and outside. Or you only want to paint the outside of the planter box.

The type of plants you want to grow in the planter box will also influence your choice of paint to use.

If you’re going to only paint the outside or only grow flowers and inedible plants, you can use regular paint without problems.

But if you want to paint the inside of the planter box as well. Or if you’re growing edible plants, it’s best to look for a plant safe, non-toxic paint.

Here are some plant safe paint and sealer options.

Milk paint

Milk paint is made using milk, lime, and added pigments for color. It’s a non-toxic paint that gives a chalky look to the material you paint it with.

One advantage of milk paint is you won’t need to apply a primer and can use it on any type of material like wood, plastic, or concrete.

Non-toxic paint

You can find non-toxic paint to use for your planter box. These are made from natural ingredients such as clay, chalk, essential oils, and plant dyes.

Linseed oil sealer

One of the best sealers you can use for your wood planter boxes. The wood absorbs linseed oil and becomes water resistant.

It’s natural and plant safe so you can apply it on the inside and outside of your planter box.

Tung oil sealer

Tung oil sealer contains tung oil that is extracted from the nuts of the tung-tree. It works well as a sealer for wood and makes it water resistant.

It’s also helps improve the color of the wood and protect it from the harsh weather.

Most paints these days are lead-free and you want to ensure you pick a lead-free paint so it is safe for edible growing and doesn’t leach into your soil. Ask for help in the paint aisle of any good home hardware or paint shop for the appropriate outdoor paint for what your box is made of.  Plastic and wood will use different paint types than metal. – Sabrina Currie, West Coast Kitchen Garden

Is it safe to paint a planter box with plants already in it?

It is safe to paint a planter box with plants already in it if you’re only going to paint the outside of the planter box and you’re using non-toxic paint.

Otherwise, it’s best to clear out the plants and potting soil from the planter box before painting it.

If you try to paint the planter box with plants inside, the paint could leach into the potting soil through cracks or gaps in material such as wood.

Regular paint contains chemicals that will be harmful to the plant, especially vegetable plants that you will consume.

If you take the plants and potting soil out of the planter box, you can also inspect it for issues such as cracks. You could do other fixes to the planter box and then paint it for improved longevity.

What precautions to take before painting planter boxes?

It’s best if you can remove the plants and potting soil from the planter box before you paint. This helps give you the flexibility to paint the planter box without affecting the plants.

You can keep the planter box on a tarp or batch of newspapers. This will help protect the ground from splashes of paint.

Keep the planter box in a well-ventilated location. The smell of paint, varnish, sealer, or primer can make some people uncomfortable.

Keep a pair of gloves handy so you can use those for the painting. It helps keep your hands protected from the paint. It may be good to use a mask as well, especially if you’re using spray paint.

 Generally, any wooden containers that hold flowers or ornamental foliage aren’t a problem and can be painted with whatever you want. If you’re painting for aesthetics and not growing edibles, you can easily add a pop of color with exterior paint and sealer. The first coat of paint should be a water-based exterior primer and sealer, both inside and outside the box. Allow the primer to dry for at least four hours before lightly sanding with sandpaper, and wipe with a tack cloth before applying the second coat of primer/sealer. – Andrew Griffith, Owner, Garden Furniture

What paint should you use for your planter box?

There are several options you can find online or at your local hardware store. I’ve listed a few paint and sealer options below.

It’s best to enquire at the store on the type of material you have and pick a paint that will work best for that material. This could be for wood, plastic, fiberglass, metal, or concrete.

I would also suggest asking which paint would work well for indoors or outdoors depending on whether you keep your planter box outside.

If you’re planning to grow vegetables, consider using a safe paint for planter boxes that is non toxic.

How to paint your planter box?

Start by scrubbing out any dirt on the planter box. You want it as clean as possible before applying any primer or paint. Wash the planter box with soapy water and spray clean water. Let it dry before you start the painting process.

If you have a wood planter box, you can use sandpaper to scrub some of the layer. Clean up the dust that would collect. You can use a wet cloth to remove this.

Now you have the option to apply paint or sealer to the planter box depending on your needs. Paint will protect the planter box from the harsh weather elements and give it an aesthetic appeal. We can use sealer for a wood planter box to make it waterproof and protect it from rot.

Applying paint to the planter box

Once the planter box is clean, I would recommend adding a coat of primer. This would ensure that the paint would stick well to the planter box and last longer.

If it’s a non-toxic, natural primer and paint, you can apply those on the outside and inside of the planter box. Otherwise, you should only apply the primer and paint on the outside of the planter box.

Apply a coat of the primer using a paintbrush and let it dry for a few hours. Then apply a second coat of the primer for good measure.

Once the primer has dried well, you can apply a layer of paint on the planter box. Make sure to apply the paint using a brush. If it’s a wood planter box, apply the paint along the grain.

Once you have applied the paint on all sides of the planter box, let it dry for at least 24 hours. You can apply a second coat of paint and let it dry.

Once the paint has dried, the planter box is ready for adding potting soil and the plants.

Applying sealer to the planter box

Instead of paint, you can consider applying sealer to the wood planter box. This will waterproof the planter and protect it from rot for a longer time.

One option is to create a 50:50 mixture of linseed oil and mineral spirit. The linseed oil works as a natural, non-toxic sealer. And the mineral spirit helps thin the linseed oil so you can apply it well.

Use a paintbrush to apply the sealer mixture on the inside and outside of the planter box. The wood will absorb the sealer so apply it well.

You’ll need to leave the wood planter box in a dry place for a couple of days until the wood absorbs the sealer and dries out. Then the planter box is ready for adding potting soil and plants.

It would also be beneficial to line the planter box with a liner material such as plastic, landscape fabric, or newspaper. This will help give added protection from moisture to the inside of the planter box.

If you’re growing vegetables in the planter box, I would recommend using a plant safe wood sealer.

Be sure to use an outdoor latex paint, as most of these are non-toxic and will be perfecty for your project. As you’re dealing with moisture, it would be a good idea to oil prime your planter before adding two coats of paint for the best possible finish. This will help prevent moisture from penetrating into the wood. During any painting project, be sure to choose a professional brush as this will definitely impact your final result. – Jay York, Co-owner, Old Crow Painting

How often do you need to paint planter boxes?

You would need to paint your planter boxes every year if you’re going to keep them outdoors because the change in weather would affect the paint.

You would need to paint your planter boxes every 2-3 years if you’re going to keep them indoors because they are in a protected environment.

It’s best to inspect your painted planter boxes every 6 months to check for damage to the paint.

How often you need to paint would also depend on the material of the planter box. Material such as wood or metal that could rot or rust would need frequent painting compared to material such as fiberglass, concrete, or plastic.

You can improve the life of the planter boxes so they would need less frequent painting. You can keep the planter boxes clean by spraying water and wiping away any dirt.

It’s best to bring the planter box indoors during the winter when there is freezing weather. This prevents cracks in the planter box and the paint.

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