Over-the-Railing Planters Transform Outdoor Spaces

Black deck railing planter with flowers

Why settle for boring when you can use deck railing planters to transform your outdoor space? Think about it. You can use one to add a decorative touch to an otherwise dull railing. Just fill one with vibrant flowers or foliage, and you have instant pizzaz.

Apart from their ability to awaken dead spaces, deck railing planters have numerous other benefits:

  • Space-Saving: If your outdoor space is limited, you can use railing planters to grow plants on balconies, decks, or patios. So you can maximize what minimal space you have.
  • Privacy: By planting tall plants in railing planters, you can create a natural screen that increases privacy in your outdoor space.
  • Convenience: The planters come in various sizes and materials, so you can find one that fits your specific style. Equally important, they’re easy to install and maintain. Indeed, some require no tools whatsoever.
    For example, Root & Vessel’s Countryside railing planters conveniently straddle the railings without hammering, drilling, or screw driving. The over-the-railing planters fit 2" x 4" and 2" x 6" standard railings.
  • Versatility: You can use them in numerous locations – balconies, decks, patios, porches, stairways, and pool areas.

Choosing the Best Over-the-Railing Planter

When selecting a planter, you’ll want to consider these factors:

  1. Size and Fit: Make sure your planter fits securely on the railing. Remember, it will get heavier once you've added soil, plants, and water. So, if you use something other than an over-the-railing planter, make sure you secure it properly.
  2. Material: Choose a material that can withstand your climate. Railing planters are available in plastic, wood, metal, and wicker. If you have a more harsh environment, select a material that won't rust, rot, or deteriorate quickly.
  3. Style: Select a planter that fits your style. You’ll find railing planters in different colors and styles. You’ll also want one that complements your other planters.
  4. Cost: More expensive options may offer higher quality and durability, but plenty of affordable options serve the purpose.
  5. Drainage: Always select a planter with drainage. Your plants will thank you. Excess water pools in the container without proper drainage and can cause root rot.

Ultimately, the best planter for your deck railing depends on your preference and the look you're after. But it's essential to choose one that is durable and capable of withstanding the elements.

Getting Creative with Planters

Deck railing planters offer a lot of creative and practical applications for outdoor spaces. First, you can create a vertical garden. That’s especially valuable if you have limited surface areas on your balcony or patio.

White deck railing planter with colorful pansies

Second, you can take a more practical approach and use one for herbs and vegetables: plant basil, mint, or rosemary for an edible and aromatic addition to an outdoor space. Or, if you're a fan of peppers, grow some of your own using a deck railing planter.

Third, there’s always a rich floral display. Plant a railing planter with colorful flowers that are eye-catching. Include some pollinators to attract wildlife like hummingbirds to your outdoor space.

Fourth, deck railing planters offer a hanging basket alternative, perfect for those lacking the option to hang baskets from their deck or balcony.

Finally, you can create seasonal displays in your planters. Fill one with pansies in the spring to add color early in the season. Then, move to some annuals during summer’s heat. You can conclude with a vibrant display of fall-blooming mums.

What Plants Work Best in Deck Railing Planters?

We’ve mentioned a few already. But whatever plants you decide upon, ensure they receive the proper sunlight. Here are some perfect plants for railing planters:

  1. Herbs: They’re compact and easy-care. They’re also nice to have if you fancy yourself as a chef. Pick some fresh herbs and add a flavor boost to any dish.
  2. Succulents: Aloe and jade plants are low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, and come in many shapes and sizes.
  3. Ferns: You can transform your outdoor space into a tropical theme with ferns. Boston ferns or bird’s nest ferns add lush greenery and privacy to an area.
  4. Trailing Plants: Petunias, ivy, vines, and other trailing plants spill over the sides of your railing planters to create a lush impact.
  5. Edibles: You’ll add color while reducing your trips to the grocery. You can grow strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce outside your door.
  6. Flowers: Of course, there are the old standby flowers. You can plant either annuals or perennials or mix and match them. Select a single-color scheme and create a swatch of bright red or yellow. Or use multiple colors to create a rainbow.

Again, make sure you choose plants that handle your climate. And don’t overplant. Plants need adequate space to reach their full potential.

Caring for Plants in an Over-the-Railing Planter

Not surprisingly, there’s little difference between caring for plants in a deck railing planter versus any other planter type. It starts with watering.

Sage green railing planter planted with springtime flowers

Regular watering is essential for maintaining plants because the soil in planters tends to dry out quickly. That's even truer for deck railing planters because they have greater exposure. So make sure you keep the soil moist but not saturated.

Drainage is a must. If your planter doesn’t have drainage holes, make your own. Otherwise, you risk root rot from water pooling at the planter’s bottom. You can also include some gravel at the bottom of the container to allow water to drain away from the plants.

Select a potting soil mix designed for container gardening. It should be light, well-draining, and rich in organic matter. You can also mix some manure or other organic material to boost your soil.

The soil in railing planters not only dries out reasonably quickly, but it also loses nutrients consistently from drainage and plant use. So, it’s essential to fertilize your plants regularly (every couple of weeks). Water-soluble fertilizers like Miracle-Gro® work exceptionally well. You can also use a slow-release product like Osmocote®.

Those are the basic requirements. You’ll also want to watch for diseases and pests like aphids and spider mites. If you encounter insect issues, you can use natural methods like neem oil or chemical pesticides for more severe infestations.

Tips for Using Deck Railing Planters

Railing planters are a popular and common feature of balconies, decks, and patios, and they continue to add color, beauty, and life to outdoor living spaces. Indeed, 85% of deck owners indicate they’re likely to add planters to their deck to make it more inviting.

If you’re one of those folks, here are some tips for using deck railing planters to transform your outdoor space.

Black deck railing planter with orange, red, and pink flowers

  1. Select the Right Plants: Consider sun exposure, soil type, and water requirements. If you want to reduce watering requirements, go with more drought-tolerant plants.
  2. Mix it Up: Use a variety of shapes and sizes. It adds more interest to a space.
  3. Use Different Heights: Hang railing planters at different heights to create a more dynamic and exciting look. And while you're at it, use other planters. For example, include window boxes, wall planters, or decorative planters.
  4. Keep Plants Healthy: Water and fertilize regularly. Otherwise, your planters will go from attractive to stark as plants die.
  5. Clean Your Railing Planters: Don't be afraid to give your planters a rinse now and then to keep them looking sharp. And replace old or dead plants with new ones to keep your display fresh. Some pruning also helps keep your plants vigorous.
  6. Add Lights: Adding lighting to your deck railing planters will create an even more significant impact that makes your outdoor space warm and inviting.
  7. Winter Protection: Consider covering or moving your planters in a harsh climate to protect them from extreme temperatures.

We Have Planters to Transform Any Space

White over-the-railing planter with a variety of annual flowers

Root & Vessel offers decorative planters of all types and sizes designed to enliven any indoor or outdoor space. You can select from square planters, round planters, and garden urns.

We also have a collection of Artstone self-watering-planters. Their unique, marbled appearance makes them an instant hit in any setting. They’re lightweight but incredibly durable, capable of handling the outdoors.

Check out some of our popular accessories, too. For example, our planter box liners help extend the life of your planters by preventing direct contact with soil and water. They’re a lifesaver for wooden planters. Plus, you can use them as an affordable, standalone planter.