A well-designed metal planter can be quite an attraction in your container garden. But the problem is the metal can rust and become unattractive. So we need to know some ways to prevent this problem.
You can keep metal planters from rusting by using a galvanized planter or applying rust-resistant paint. Water is the main reason for rust on the planter. So you can protect it from water using waterproof foam or using an insulated inner pot.
I’ve written a lot more details about each of these options you can take to protect your metal planter. Make sure to read the entire post to know about all of them.
Use a galvanized metal planter
The easiest option to keep your metal planter from rusting is to use a galvanized one. The galvanized planter has a coating of zinc applied to the outer surface.
This coating of zinc prevents the metal underneath to be affected by rust. You need to be careful not to scrape the zinc as that will allow rust.
The drawback of using zinc is that it may leach into the soil. And you don’t want such metals in the soil especially when you’re growing fruits and vegetables.
One option is to use the galvanized planter just as a cover while you place a plastic container inside it which contains the plant.
Apply rust-resistant paint
Another easy option you have is to paint the metal planter with rust-resistant paint. You need to apply it well on the inside and outside of the container. Even if there is a small space left, it will cause the metal container to rust from the inside.
You can start from the inside and apply the paint on all sides of the container. Make sure to cover the rim at the bottom and top as well.
Now you can apply the paint on the outside of the container making sure you get all sides. Leave the paint to dry for 24 hours.
Then apply a second coat of paint again to the inside and outside of the container. And leave it to dry for another 24 hours.
Now your metal planter is ready to be used for adding your potting soil and planting. I would suggest using a plastic bin liner in the planter before adding the potting soil. This bin liner will prevent the chemicals in the paint from reaching the potting soil.
Use a stainless steel planter
Stainless steel is an alloy that has a coating of at least 11% chrome. This coating prevents rust from affecting the steel. If you can get such a planter, it can grow plants well without worrying about rust.
But it might be difficult to get such a planter and you may need to get one specially created.
Use a powder-coated planter
A powder coating of materials like acrylic, polyester, nylon, vinyl, epoxy, and urethane can help protect the metal from rust. You may need to search hard for such a planter similar to the stainless steel one.
It’s best if you can get a regular metal planter and apply such a powder coating yourself. You don’t want such materials to leach into the soil. So I suggest using such a planter as just a container to hold a plastic pot where you grow your plants.
Move the planter indoors
Metal planters start rusting because water reaches the metal causing oxidation. If you live in an area that gets plenty of rain, it may be good to move the planter indoors.
If the planter is heavy, you should keep it on a moving rack so it becomes easy to move the metal planter in the location that you need.
Another option is to cover up the metal planter with a waterproof material that will protect it from the rain.
Use an inner pot in the metal planter
The main reason for rust to hit your metal planter will be splashing water on it when watering the plant. You can grow the plant in a plastic pot that you place inside the metal planter.
This prevents the soil from touching the metal planter. You can take the pot out of the planter when you want to water the plant. And put it back inside after the watering is done.
This prevents the water from touching the metal planter and reduces the chances of rust.
Use a layer of waterproof foam
You can line the inner sides of the metal planter with a layer of waterproof foam. This will protect the planter from rust because the water will be prevented from touching the sides.
Make sure to only apply the waterproof foam on the inner sides of the metal planter. Do not put the foam on the bottom of the planter as this will block the drainage holes.
Make fixes as soon as possible
Once the metal planter faces some problems such as scratched paint it can get affected by rust very fast.
You need to fix these issues as soon as you observe them. You’ll need to clean the planter and remove any rust that may have started forming.
You’ll need to repaint the affected portion to prevent further degradation of the metal planter.
It’s best if you can maintain the planter after every growing season. Take out the plant and potting soil. Clean up the container with a soft brush or sponge and soap water.
Make sure to dry out the planter with a cloth so there is no moisture. If there are any areas of the container starting to rust, you’ll need to scrape it off using a good rust removal solution.
Clean the container again after using such a solution and leave it to dry. Now it’s ready for you to add potting soil and start growing a new plant.
What are the drawbacks of using a metal planter?
It’s a good conductor of heat or cold
The metal is a good conductor which means it will conduct heat or cold from the weather outside to the potting soil.
If it’s too hot due to strong sunlight, the potting soil will heat up and cook the roots causing plant damage. If it’s too cold outside, the potting soil and the roots can freeze causing them damage.
I suggest using an insulation foam to separate the potting soil from the metal sides of the planter. Or you can place a plastic pot inside the metal planter. The layer of air between them will insulate the potting soil from the heat or cold.
It can get rusted
You already know that one of the bad things about a metal planter is that it can get rusted. The rust can cause damage to the planter as well as the potting soil.
I’ve already mentioned some of the solutions to this problem but the easiest ones are getting a galvanized metal planter or painting the planter with rust-resistant paint.
It may cause health risks
Some of the metals can be toxic to plants, pets, and humans. If you got a planter that has a coating like zinc or acrylic, it can leach into the soil and be harmful to the plants as well as animals.
The solution to this problem is to isolate the metal planter from the potting soil. The best way to do this is to grow the plant in a plastic pot and place that pot inside the metal planter.
It can be heavy
A metal planter can be heavy to move around especially when you’ve added potting soil into it. It’s always good to first decide the location where you want to place the planter and then add the soil.
You can get a moving tray and place the metal planter on it. This will help you move the planter around with ease in case you need to do so.
It can lead to overwatering
One of the most common problems when growing plants in a planter is overwatering. This happens because we don’t realize that the potting soil and roots are getting more water than they need.
The problem with metal planters can happen when they don’t have drainage holes at the bottom causing the water to collect. You can prevent this problem by either buying a planter with drainage holes or drilling some holes in the bottom.
The drainage holes will help the excess water to flow out and prevent this problem of overwatering.
Here are some of my favorite container gardening tools
Thank you for reading this post. I hope it helps you with your gardening needs. I’ve listed some tools below that can help you with container gardening. These are affiliate links so I’ll earn a commission if you use them.
Gardening Gloves – I find the Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Gardening Gloves really good for both men and women. It’s made from bamboo so helps absorb perspiration. They are also comfortable and fit very well.
Containers – You know picking the right container is crucial for your container gardening. I’ve written a detailed post on the best containers you can choose from. If you’re happy with a plastic container, you can check out the Bloem Saturn Planter.
Watering Can – This is a must-have tool when you’re growing plants in pots or grow bags. It helps to water the potting soil without splashing on the foliage. The Kensington Watering Can is stylish, strong, and can provide precision when watering potted plants.
Trowel – Garden Guru Trowel is my favorite because it’s durable and comfortable to use. My gardening friends really love having a trowel because they use it for digging soil, mixing fertilizer, moving seeds, leveling out the soil, mixing compost or mulch, and also dividing tubers
Bypass Pruner – I really like the Corona Bypass Pruner because it’s durable and gives a clean cut that helps plants recover faster. If you’re looking for something cheap, get the Fiskars Bypass Pruner that is really good as well.
To see an extensive list of the best container gardening tools gardeners recommend, check out this resource that I made for you.
Kevin is the founder of Gardening Mentor, a website that aims to teach people to grow their own food in a limited space. As a self-taught gardener, Kevin has spent several years growing plants and creating gardening content on the website. He is certified in Home Horticulture and Organic Gardening by expert gardeners from Oregon State University.