Best Wood for Planter Box (Updated List)

Best Wood for Planter Box Image

What kind of wood should you use to make a planter box? Well, that depends on what you’re planting.

If you have a green thumb, and are looking to cultivate your garden, then you’ll need a sturdy wood that can withstand the elements.

But if you’re just looking for something to spruce up your front porch, then any old wood will do.

Check out this blog post to find out the best wood for planter boxes.

Best Wood for Planter Box

  1. Pressure treated wood
  2. Cedarwood
  3. Redwood
  4. Douglas fir
  5. Teak
  6. Cypress
  7. Pine
  8. White oak
  9. Spruce

What wood to use for planter box?

1. Pressure Treated Wood

Pressure-treated lumbers are the best woods for outdoor planters. With this wood type, you can build a raised bed that produces healthy plants. Their use depends on the following:

  • Your needs.
  • Your budget.
  • Your growing zone.

Further, you can treat pressure-treated lumber using preservatives like micronized copper azole and CCA to prevent rotting. The two are the most popular residual lumber treatments.

However, when buying pressure-treated wood, ensure your pick has a safety label. This label indicates if you can use the wood on the ground. In addition, reputable supply retailers can give you the wood’s safety data sheets.

The data sheets give you extra info about the wood’s treatment chemicals. Further, unlike its alternatives, pressure heat-treated wood is economical.


  • It’s resistant to harsh weather conditions.
  • It’s resistant to insect activities.
  • It’s durable.
  • It’s cost-effective.


  • Some pressure-treated woods may have harmful contaminants for edible plants or vegetables.
  • Low-quality pressure-treated woods are available.

2. Cedar Wood

I recommend using cedar for building your wooden planter box. That’s so since they’re the best woods for that purpose. Also, if you’d love a lively home, pick this wood type.

It’ll make your flower bed ideas successful. Check out our boat planter ideas to inspire you to create a unique and eye-catching planter box.

Further, Cedar doesn’t need chemical treatments. And it’s a naturally rot-resistant wood. Moreover, this wood type withstands any climate, lasting beyond a decade.

Cedar wood is highly water-resistant, making it perfect for outdoor planter boxes. The western red cedar wood naturally resists insects since it has chemical oils.

Read: How to stop wooden planters rotting


  • It’s decay-resistant.
  • It’s a naturally rot-resistant wood.
  • This wood type has high stability.
  • It’s attractive.
  • It’s durable.
  • It’s water-resistant.


  • This wood type is expensive.
  • It’s highly flammable.
  • It needs high maintenance.
  • The wood changes its color later.

3. Redwood

As we said earlier, Redwood is among the popular woods for raised garden beds. It makes highly durable and quality outdoor garden boxes. Moreover, this wood type is naturally decay-resistant.

Raised garden beds from Redwood withstand weathering and insect attacks. It’s high-quality makes it a durable pick for planter boxes.  Also, Redwood is rot-resistant since it naturally produces a rot-preventive oil. 

Thus, a raised garden bed from it lasts beyond 20 years.


  • It’s decay-resistant.
  • It’s highly durable.
  • It’s extra lightweight.


  • Redwood needs high maintenance.
  • Redwood is somewhat expensive.
  • It needs extra finishing.

4. Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir is another suitable wood for building a wooden planter box. Its makeup has no harsh chemicals. Thus, it’s an eco-friendly wood pick for planter boxes. Then again, Douglas Fir wood is affordable.

Further, if you’re a gardening newbie, this wood type suits you since it’s beginner-friendly. Outdoor planters from Douglas Fir last beyond ten years when well maintained. Also, it isn’t toxic to outdoor environments or human skin.


  • Douglas Fir wood type is cheaper, unlike most hardwoods.
  • It’s durable.
  • Douglas Fir lacks harmful chemicals.
  • It has excellent stability and strength.
  • It’s decay-resistant.


  • It’s somewhat more expensive, unlike other softwoods.
  • Douglas Fir wood needs high maintenance.

5. Teak

Another common wood type for garden boxes is Teak. It naturally resists all weather because of the natural oil it produces. Moreover, it lasts beyond a decade since it’s hardwood.

Unfortunately, its color changes if you don’t treat it using color-preserving sealants.

Further, Teak wood has rot-resistant properties. Thus, it’s perfect for plants that love a moist environment.


  • Teak wood resists different harmful weather types.
  • It’s highly resistant to rot.
  • It’s also highly durable.


  • These wood types are expensive
  • You’ll need color-preservative sealants to preserve this wood’s natural color.

6. Cypress

If you’re looking for a pine or cedar alternative, I recommend trying cypress. I say so since the wood adds to your garden a rustic elegance. Also, most woodworkers consider cypress a top-tier because it’s naturally rot-resistant.

Besides that, unlike cedar and pine wood, it has more heartwood. Further, Cypress can resist harsh outdoor elements since it has natural oils. Cypress-raised garden beds last beyond a decade.

Cypress is also water-resistant. Even further, it withstands attacks from pests and insects.


  • Cypress wood is attractive.
  • It’s naturally wood rot-resistant.
  • Its work rate is outstanding.
  • It has a straight texture and grain.
  • It’s somewhat affordable.


  • Cypress wood produces a sour odor.
  • It’s highly toxic.

7. Pine

Pinewood is another perfect wood for building planter boxes. It’s a softwood with unique features and an attractive wood grain. Also, pinewood is affordable.

Most woodworkers or homeowners use this wood type as an alternative to redwood and cedar. But it would help to consider a wood’s cost if you’re planning to build several planter boxes. 

Further, pinewood has exceptional qualities, making it a perfect pick for outdoor projects.


  • Pinewood is somewhat cheap.
  • This wood type is easy-to-use.
  • Pinewood is attractive.
  • It’s lightweight.


  • Its moisture resistance isn’t efficient.
  • Pests or insects can easily attack this wood.
  • This wood type can’t last beyond a decade, unlike hardwoods.
  • It needs high-quality finishes and sealing to last longer.
  • It’s less rot-resistant.

8. White Oak

White oak is another perfect material for a planter box since it’s a naturally rot-resistant wood. White Oak is more potent by 50% to 100% than other woods. Moreover, it has an attractive grain, making your raised bed look more beautiful.

Also, White oak comes with a natural texture, making it suitable for stain or finisher application.


  • White oak has an attractive texture.
  • It’s durable.
  • It’s highly water-resistant.


  • White Oak is quite expensive.
  • It’s hard and heavy.

9. Spruce

I’d recommend picking spruce when planning to build wooden planter boxes. But that’s if you’re considering the price and mobility of wood.

The spruce is affordable and lightweight. Moreover, compared to hardwoods, spruce offers easy handling. Since it’s a softwood, planter boxes are prone to pest and insect attacks.

To prevent that attack type, you can pressure treat it before building the planter box.


  • It’s affordable.
  • It’s attractive.
  • It’s lightweight.


  • This wood type is less resistant to pests and insects.
  • The spruce wood isn’t weather-resistant.
  • It’s less decay-resistant.

See Also: Best Strawberry Containers

How to Make a Wooden Planter Step by Step

Materials & Tools, and steps

  • Pressure-treated wood.
  • Gravel Board.
  • Drill.
  • Saw.
  • Wood drill bit about 3mm.
  • Try square.
  • Screwdriver.
  • Tape measure.
  • Pencil.
  • Zinc-plated screws.

Here’s how you can build a wooden planter box:

  1. Decide how small or large your planter needs to be. That’ll help you pick the correct wood size for your planter.
  2. Look for pressure-treated wood from reputable wood dealers or online shops.
  3. Cut down your pressure-treated wood into the correct sizes.
  4. Create some pilot holes within the two boards.
  5. Use zinc-plated screws to fasten the boards.
  6. Measure the inner length and width. Doing so helps you determine the wooden planter box’s bottom size.
  7. On your planter box’s bottom, drill some drainage holes.
  8. Place a vinyl or nylon screen layer inside your wooden planter.
  9. Sand the rough edges.
  10. Stain, prime, or paint the planter’s outside.
  11. Add a thin gravel layer, then add the potting soil or compost.
  12. Add your favorite plants/flowers or any seeds you want to cultivate.
  13. Enjoy your new wooden raised garden bed.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the best wood to use for planter boxes

i. Durability & strength

Durable wood types make the best wood planters. With them, you can build wooden planters that can last beyond a decade.

ii. Moisture and weather resistance

Moisture/weather resistance is among the primary factors affecting a wood’s durability. Thus, pick a wood type that’ll produce a raised garden bed that lasts longer. Also, choose one that’s rot or decay-resistant.

iii. Safety

A wood planter shouldn’t pose any health or safety risks to anyone or the environment. For that reason, only consider non-toxic woods.

iv. Cost

Another thing, it would help to consider your budget. That’s so since timber is somewhat expensive. And because of that, I’d recommend using concrete-built or metal planters.

v. Treated lumber vs. untreated wood

I highly suggest using natural wood when building your wooden garden box. I say so because they’ve got no chemical treatments. Fortunately, modern wood treatments like ACQ and CA are human and pet safe.

Even though it’s human or pet safe, avoid CCA-treated wood.

Related: Best Planter for Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

Types of Wood to Avoid for Planter Boxes

  • CCA-treated wood: Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treated wood is a type of pressure-treated wood that contains arsenic, which can leach into the soil and be harmful to plants.
  • Railroad ties: Railroad ties are unsuitable for use in planter boxes because they are treated with creosote, which is toxic to plants and can contaminate soil and groundwater.
  • Plywood and MDF: Plywood and MDF (medium-density fiberboard) are not suitable for use in planter boxes because they contain adhesives and other chemicals that can be harmful to plants. Additionally, they are not durable and can deteriorate quickly when exposed to moisture.


What kind of wood should I use for a planter box?

Redwood and cedar are popular among the best wood for planter boxes. Moreover, you can’t go wrong with any. Plus, they’re always available. Most people prefer cedar specifically for their crack-resistant qualities, durability, and lightweight.

On the other hand, Redwood is a naturally rot-resistant wood.

See Also: Best pot for African violets

What kind of wood should I use for a raised garden bed?

Most woodworkers often consider cedar as the best wood for use on garden beds. That’s because cedar wood is naturally rot-resistant. Even though most prefer using western red cedar, the white and yellow variants are also high-quality. That’s mainly for construction projects done outdoors.

Can you use untreated wood for planter boxes?

Wooden planters from untreated wood materials will serve you longer than you think. And yes, untreated wood decomposes after some time. But, since it’s untreated, you’ll reduce the potential risks of toxins attacking your garden.

Read: The Best Planter with water reservoir

How to waterproof the inside of a wood planter box

To waterproof a wooden planter box, start by preparing the surface. Use sandpaper to remove rough spots or splinters, and wipe it down with a damp cloth. Then, apply a waterproof sealant or line the box with plastic or pond liner, making sure to cover all seams and corners. It’s crucial to ensure a tight and thorough coverage, so take extra care with the application. Allow the sealant or lining to dry completely before adding soil and plants.

The Best Wood to Make Planter Box Summary

The best wood for planter box depends on several factors. For example, you can pick pressure-treated pine because of the following factors:

  • You won’t grow veggies or other plants within your kitchen.
  • You’re looking for low-cost or cheap wood.
  • You’re looking for long-lasting or durable wood.

But if you want a lively home, then cedar would be your best option. In short, pick a wood type to create a raised garden bed that suits your needs.

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