An easy way to add greenery to an outdoor space is with a railing planter. They can house colorful flowers, herbs, or vegetable plants. Quick and easy to mount, they attach either by a cutout in the planter, an adjustable arm, brackets, or hooks.
Though there are deck-railing planters, porch-railing planters, balcony-railing planters, patio-railing planters, and adjustable railing planters to fit even some of the smallest or largest outdoor spaces, not all planters work for all railing widths and home styles. Keep reading to find out what features to consider when selecting a new railing planter, and check out some of the best railing planters by material, size, and more below.
- BEST OVERALL: Apollo Exports Intl. Adjustable Railing Planter
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Somto 6.1-Inch Large Vintage Hanging Flower Pots
- BEST WITH COCO LINER: HFHome 24-Inch Window Deck Rail Planter
- BEST METAL: Dahey Metal Iron Hanging Flower Pots
- BEST RATTAN-LOOK: Apollo Exports Intl. Rattan-Look Railing Planter
- BEST MODERN: Veradek Pure Railing Planter
- BEST LARGE: Panacea 48-Inch Flat Iron Window or Deck Planter
- BEST SMALL: Bloem Modica 12-Inch Rail Planter
- BEST SET OF TWO: United Frames and Products Ridge Rail Planter
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Railing Planter
Before purchasing a planter for a porch, deck, or balcony railing, shoppers will want to take into account a few factors to help narrow the choices to the best options for their particular needs. First, the planter must fit the width of the railing. Overall size, planter material, and mounting method are also important.
Railing planters come in small to extra-large sizes. At the smaller end are planters with hooks that hold lightweight 3-inch to 6-inch pots. At the larger end of the spectrum are rectangular planters that span up to 4 feet.
Here’s a look at the most common types of railing planters by size.
- Hanging pots: These are generally the smallest railing planters. They hook to railings and hold flowerpots of various sizes, starting at 3 to 6 inches. We’ve also reviewed the top hanging planters, many of which will work outdoors.
- Small circular, rectangle, and square planters: These are a good choice for those needing to outfit a compact outdoor area. They come in sizes as small as 12 inches, creating a spot to house plants without taking up too much space.
- Large rectangular railing planters: Rectangular railing planters are easy to find and come in sizes as long as 4 feet.
There are four ways to mount a railing planter: using a bracket, adjustable arms, a hook, or a cutout in the bottom of the planter. The mounting method is one of the most important features because not all planters fit all railing sizes.
No matter the mounting method, look for the product’s minimum and maximum railing width to ensure the planter will securely attach.
- Brackets: Large planters often come with hanging brackets, most of which are adjustable.
- Adjustable arms: Adjustable arms are built into the planner. They contain a pin that gardeners can move to change the arm’s width.
- Hooks: Hanging flowerpots have hooks that go over the top of the railing. Hooks are the easiest to install.
- Bottom cutout: A railing planter may have a cutout on the bottom that fits directly over the rail. Gardeners can add extra stabilization with zip ties.
Railing planters come in several materials, including metal, wood, and plastic. Plastic planters hold up well to the weather, and many models include ultraviolet (UV)-resistant additives, which prevent the planter from fading. In addition, they come in many colors, making it easy to find an option to fit any style or house.
Metal railing planters come in small hanging pots, large rectangles, and long, flat iron with coco liners. Metal, especially iron, is a long-lasting material that suits many styles, including modern, traditional, or rustic, depending on the design.
Wooden railing planters are available in numerous stains and paint colors. If using a wood planter, add a plastic liner to protect the interior from moisture damage.
The most important aspects to look for in a planter include mounting size and style, but some other nifty features can help a planter stand apart.
- Self-watering: These planters come with a reservoir tank that holds water. With the reservoir tank filled, plants can drink as needed. For outdoor planters, look for self-watering railing planters with an overflow drainage hole. The overflow drainage will ensure the plant doesn’t get overwatered after a rainstorm.
- Drainage: If a planter is not self-watering, it needs drainage. When water doesn’t properly drain, it can cause a plant to rot. Iron planters with coco liners will have automatic drainage; but for solid metal, wood, or plastic planters, ensure there’s a drainage hole or create one with a drill.
Our Top Picks
Since railing planters come in many sizes, materials, and styles, the list of some of the best on the market are organized by category to make selecting the best railing planter easier for the buyer.
The Apollo Exports International adjustable railing planter is made with UV-resistant plastic. It’s self-watering, with a reservoir tank that can hold 6 cups of water. The reservoir tank has an automatic overflow feature so excess water can escape.
This planter will fit deck and balcony railings from 1 to 4 inches wide and can be used on metal, wood, composite, and chain-link fences. The arms on the planter are adjustable and don’t require tools. The planters come in five colors and three sizes.
The Apollo International adjustable planter is at the top of the list for its durability, self-watering features, and ease of installation.
- Size: 24 inches long by 4 inches wide by 7.5 inches tall
- Material: Plastic
- Fit: 1-inch to 4-inch railings
- Adjustable arms fit 1- to 4-inch-wide railings
- Easy to assemble; no tools needed
- Self-watering with auto-overflow drainage
- Available in different sizes and colors
- Double arms may not support a superheavy load
Get the Apollo Exports International adjustable railing planter on Amazon.
The Somto large vintage hanging flowerpots come in a pack of four. Each planter holds a flowerpot up to 6.1 inches. These pots have detachable hooks, which means flower enthusiasts can use them as ordinary pots or as railing planters.
The pots are made from galvanized steel and painted in a rustic finish with a color choice of off-white or black. Each pot has a drainage hole drilled into the bottom.
Though these pots are ideal for a rustic or vintage flair, they are small. The other downside is the hook allows for a railing of only 2.5 inches or less.
- Size: Top diameter is 6.1 inches; bottom diameter is 4.5 inches; height (without hook) is 5.5 inches; height with hook is 9 inches
- Material: Galvanized metal
- Fit: Railings of up to 2.5 inches wide
- Inexpensive pack of 4
- Attaches to railing via a hook
- Vintage design available in 2 colors
- Predrilled drainage holes
- Works only with railing widths up to 2.5 inches
- Small size
Get the Somto railing planters on Amazon.
The HFHome Planter features an open-weave “X” design and a coconut-, or coco-, fiber liner. Coco-fiber plant liners retain moisture to keep plants watered but also allow for proper drainage, making them an asset.
This planter is 24 inches long and has adjustable brackets that fit 2-inch to 5.5-inch-wide railings. Sold in a pack of two, it comes with zip ties for custom mounting and extra security.
- Size: 24 inches long by 7 inches wide by 4.8 inches tall
- Material: Metal with coco liner
- Fit: 2-inch to 5.5-inch railing
- Open-weave metal design featuring an absorbent coco-fiber liner
- Adjustable mounting bracket
- Comes in a pack of 2
- Some assembly required
- May need zip ties and brackets depending on railing thickness
Get the HFHome railing planters on Amazon.
These iron hanging flowerpots from Dahey come in either a pack of three or five. They feature two hooks per pot that gardeners can hang on top of a fence, or on deck or porch railings. Each planter is 10.5 inches long, large enough to be filled with a variety of plants, including colorful flower gardens and herb gardens.
The rectangular pots come in black or white and have predrilled drainage holes, and more holes can be drilled, if needed. Hooks will need to be attached before hanging. These flowerpots also can also be used as tabletop planters.
- Size: 10.5 inches long by 5.75 inches wide by 5 inches tall
- Material: Iron
- Fit: 1.5-inch-wide railing
- Come in a set of 3 or 5
- Easy to attach
- Predrilled drainage holes
- Hooks aren’t adjustable
- Won’t fit extra-wide railings
Get the Dahey railing planters on Amazon.
For those looking for wicker railing planters, this planter from Apollo Exports International provides a natural wicker, or rattan, look with the durability of plastic, which can be ideal for quickly adding low-maintenance texture and a small garden of plants or herbs to an outdoor space.
The Apollo Exports rattan-look railing planter features a hidden self-watering reservoir. The reservoir tray is separate from the plant, allowing only the roots access to the water. The brackets are adjustable and will fit railings as wide as 4 inches. There’s no need for tools because the bracket adjusts by moving a plastic pin.
- Size: 24 inches long by 8 inches wide by 7.5 inches tall
- Material: Plastic
- Fit: Adjustable arms fit railings up to 4 inches wide
- Rattan appearance with the durability of plastic
- Adjustable arms fit railings up to 4 inches wide
- Self-watering reservoir tank
- Not ideal for rounded railings
Get the Apollo Exports International rattan-look railing planter on Amazon or Wayfair.
Veradek offers a railing planter with a simple design in three color choices: light gray, black, and espresso. The lightweight planters come in a pack of two; each is 70 percent recycled plastic, UV-resistant, and frost-resistant. They also are rated for use in temperatures from -30 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
These planters have predrilled drainage holes and adjustable brackets that accommodate railings from 1 inch to 5.5 inches wide. The brackets also allow for adjustable angles. Each planter is 36 inches long and can be recycled.
- Size: 36 inches long by 10 inches wide by 9 inches tall
- Material: Plastic; 70 percent is post-consumer plastic
- Fit: Brackets can be adjusted from 1 to 5.5 inches
- Bracket adjusts from 1 to 5.5 inches
- Modern look with clean lines
- Large capacity at 36 inches long
- Expensive compared to other plastic options
Get the Veradek railing planter on Amazon (2-pack), The Home Depot, or Wayfair.
With a classic design, the Panacea flat iron window or deck planter can fit many home styles, and, with its 4-foot span, it can be ideal for outdoor spaces with long railings. The planter features a classic metal bar design with a coco-fiber liner. The coco liner helps plants retain moisture while providing adequate drainage.
The steel Panacea planter includes mounting hardware that works with railings or as a window box. With such a long span, this planter can hold a lot of plants, including an herb garden or a mix of greenery.
- Size: 48 inches long by 7.75 inches wide by 8 inches tall
- Material: Steel with a coco-fiber liner
- Fit: Adjustable from about 3 inches to 5.5 inches wide
- Coco-fiber liner helps a plant retain moisture
- Large 4-foot-long planter
- Classic design matches many styles
- May need to add brackets for support
Get the Panacea railing planter on Amazon.
The Bloem Modica 12-inch rail planter features a circular design with a bottom cutout, allowing growers to maximize small spaces. The compression fit works with 2-inch and 4-inch railings, and the deep 8.75-inch height allows plenty of room for plants to establish roots.
The Bloem Modica planter comes in several color choices, including brick red and white. No tools are required, as this planter fits over a railing and can be secured with zip ties, if necessary. The planter is made of plastic resin and is UV-resistant.
- Size: 12-inch diameter, 8.75-inch height
- Material: Plastic
- Fit: 2- and 4-inch-deep railings
- Easy to attach to railings
- Many color choices
- Deepness of the pot allows for root establishment
- Predrilled drainage holes included
- Fits only 2- and 4-inch-deep railings
Get the Bloem railing planter on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
The United Frames and Products ridge rail planters are made with high-quality plastic that’s frost- and UV-resistant. These polypropylene planters span 22.8 inches in length, are available in four colors (white, walnut, charcoal, and mushroom), and come in a set of two. With their minimalist styling, they can complement many types of home decor.
Easy to install and remove, the modular ridge rail planters feature a bottom cutout that securely fits round and flat railings, and fences up to 2.75 inches wide. The lightweight planters can also be zip-tied in place for extra security.
- Size: 22.8 inches long by 11.4 inches wide by 7.8 inches tall
- Material: Plastic
- Fit: Railings up to 2.75 inches wide
- Simple design goes with most styles
- Easy to attach to railing
- Frost-resistant and UV-resistant
- Comes in a 2-pack
- Fits only railings up to 2.75 inches wide
Get the United Frames and Products railing planter on Amazon.
Make a DIY Railing Planter
Making a DIY railing planter doesn’t have to be intricate or costly. There are several types of mounting brackets that attach to any kind of planter. An easy way to make a semi-custom planter is to find a flower box, add mounting brackets, and secure it to the railing.
DIY enthusiasts can also build custom planters from wood. For design inspiration, check out the best overall planters available. To construct a wooden planter, first decide on a size. Then buy lumber, trim each board to the appropriate size, attach the panels with construction adhesive and fasteners, and allow the glue to dry. Once dry, drill drainage holes in the bottom of the planter, seal with a UV-protecting stain, and add mounting brackets. Finally, consider adding a plastic liner to the box before filling it with soil and plants.
Our top railing planter pick is the Apollo Exports International railing planter. It has adjustable arms that fit railings from 1 to 4 inches, is easy to attach, contains a self-watering reservoir, and is made with UV-resistant plastic. For those looking for a less-expensive option, our best budget pick—the Somto railing planter—is an easy-to-hang option that comes in a pack of four.
How We Chose the Best Railing Planters
Railing planters come in many shapes and sizes, and with different mounting hardware. We looked for planters that can securely attach to railings and support the weight of the soil and plants. Since not all railings are the same width, we looked for products that fit different-size railings, from 1 inch to 5.5 inches wide.
When searching for a railing planter, one of the main criteria shoppers consider is style. So we explored planters for different categories, including material, size, and design. For the best overall, we chose a planter with many popular features, including a self-watering reservoir tank and adjustable arms that fit various railing widths.
Tips for Securing Railing Planters
If railing planters aren’t secure, they can fall off the balcony or deck, ruining the plants they hold and becoming a potential safety hazard. This is why mounting hardware is a top concern. Before purchasing a railing planter, ensure the brackets are compatible with the railing width. Also, take note of the maximum weight the planter can hold. The mounting hardware won’t offer proper support if the planter is too heavy.
Gardeners can add extra security to their planter by using zip ties. Depending on the planter’s design, zip ties can be added to the bottom of the pot and secured underneath the railing, so they’re out of sight.
Here are some tips for keeping a railing planter secure:
- Make sure the mounting bracket is compatible with the width of the railing.
- Stabilize wobbly railing planters by adding zip ties through the planter and under the railing.
- Don’t fill a planter with rocks or other heavy material. Many brackets won’t be able to support the weight.
Railing planters add beauty to outdoor spaces and provide a place to grow flowers or an herb garden. They are easy to install as long as their mounting hardware is compatible with the railing width. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about railing planters.
Q. How do I install and secure railing planters?
Railing planters attach via mounting brackets, adjustable arms, or bottom cutouts. Follow the installation directions based on the type of mounting hardware. Gardeners can stabilize the planter by adding zip ties.
Q. How do I protect my deck railings from planters?
Consider hanging pots rather than large planters to protect a deck railing. Also, keep planters lightweight and occasionally move them to different spots.
Q. What can I plant in a railing planter?
Railing planters are suitable for herb gardens or flower arrangements.
Q. What can I put in the bottom of my outdoor planter for drainage?
Create a drainage hole in an outdoor planter by drilling into the bottom of the pot. Consider adding a coco-fiber liner if the planter has an open weave.