The 10 Best Potting Benches
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in March of 2017. For those who enjoy developing new plants from cuttings and moving growing plants to larger containers, a quality potting bench can be an indispensable tool. They are available in a wide variety of sizes to fit on small balconies and in large conservatories, and in designs to suit all needs and personal preferences. Some can also do double duty as a side table for an outdoor gathering. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
August 19, 2020:
We've kept plenty of attractive wood models, most replete with features, ultimately adding the Belham Living Winfield on the strength of its sturdy build quality and eye-catching design. It is made with wood from sustainable sources, has high-quality hardware, and offers a tilt-out receptacle, something not many other choices have. The Home Styles Bali Hai remains a good choice, especially since it has wheels, something the Belham Living lacks. It's true that both of these models are on the pricey side; for something less expensive, look to the Yaheetech Outdoor. It provides a good value for the cost, with a galvanized metal top and hooks for hanging your gardening trowel and other tools.
Because not everyone wants a model made from wood, we kept the vinyl Dura-Trel Greenfield and added two metal choices, the Poly-Tex HG2000 and the RMP Greenhouse Table. The RMP bench is probably not exactly what you'd call attractive, but it's lightweight and can be shifted around your yard or patio as needed. The Poly-Tex model also has a simple style, with tapered legs that end in plastic feet that should protect a concrete or wood floor.
March 05, 2019:
When it comes to potting benches, it's important to consider the assembly requirements as well as the use and look of the finished product. Because the Convenience Concepts models were outperformed by other models in all these areas, we decided to remove them. We added the Vytal Folding for those who are crunched for space; it doesn't require much in the way of assembly and has a rustic vibe that goes equally well with greenery and food/drinks. For those who need something that can withstand rough weather or treatment, we added the Dura-Trel Greenfield, a PVC model. True, it doesn't exactly have the natural, earthy charm of wood, but it's also a lot easier to care for. Finally, after some consideration, we decided to leave the Home Styles Bali Hai as a top choice. It must be said that some people have issues putting it together; however, when assembled correctly, it is a multipurpose choice that both looks and feels more durable than many of its brethren. But no matter which model you choose, we'd advise taking your time and reading the directions carefully.
DutchCrafters Amish Cypress The DutchCrafters Amish Cypress offers usability combined with good looks, with small details that ensure it will last, including top quality stainless steel hardware. It arrives unfinished, and it's recommended that you seal or paint it before use. dutchcrafters.com
Forever Redwood Eli's Whether you place it indoors or outside, the Forever Redwood Eli's is sure to turn heads, thanks to a handsome redwood construction that is resistant to decay. Even better, this model is customizable; you can select from several sizes, add or remove drawers and shelves, and even have it engraved. As you might expect, it's pricier than most. foreverredwood.com
VivaTerra Agrarian What's old is new again with the VivaTerra Agrarian, which boasts reclaimed European timber. Made by hand in Hungary, each one feels sturdy at 60 pounds; count on it to hold plants during potting, or function as a beverage tub during your next get-together. vivaterra.com
Why You Should Be Using A Potting Bench
First and foremost, elevating your work surface is far healthier for your back and knees than bending over or kneeling for an extended period.
Growing your own plants can be an extremely rewarding pastime. In addition to providing beautiful flowers to look at and delicious fruits, vegetables, and herbs to eat, it also offers a variety of health benefits. It's a great form of low-impact exercise, it can help combat depression and anxiety, and it may even reduce your risk of developing dementia. And, while there's nothing wrong with the old-fashioned way, investing in a potting bench will make gardening even more pleasant, whether you're a beginner or you've been at it for years.
First and foremost, elevating your work surface is far healthier for your back and knees than bending over or kneeling for an extended period. These positions are unnatural for your spine and put a lot of pressure on your back, shoulders, and neck, which can lead to a very sore morning after, and sometimes more serious injuries. A potting bench allows you to stand up straight while you work to maintain better posture and avoid unnecessary strain in your muscles and joints.
A potting bench also gives you a place to keep and organize all of your tools, soil, seeds, and extra pots, so you won't have to use valuable storage space in your shed or garage. Plus, having all your equipment in one place ensures that you always know where everything is when you need it. As an added bonus, your potting bench can even serve as a table for food and drinks at a barbecue or outdoor dinner party.
How To Choose A Potting Bench
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding which potting bench will best suit your needs. If you're an occasional gardener who just needs to repot a plant or two every now and then, a minimalist model will do everything you need it to do. But if you've got your hands in the dirt more days than not, you'll want to be a bit more choosey, and there's no shortage of bells and whistles available to make your job easier.
Cleaning up is arguably the worst part of gardening, which is why some potting benches come with sinks or trimming bins to make the process less painful.
If you have a lot of equipment to store, look for a potting bench with multiple shelves, and maybe even a few drawers and cabinets to keep your soil and tools safe and dry when the weather gets nasty. Some models also have bars for hanging your trowels, spades, and pruning shears, and others have lattice-style backs where you can hang S-hooks to hold your gear. On the other hand, for those who are short on space, there are benches that conveniently fold flat when you're not using them, so you can easily tuck them away in your garage or shed.
Some potting benches have wheels, which make it a lot easier to move them around when they're full of heavy supplies. Wheels can also be a huge help if you plan to use your potting bench in the garden. They allow you to take all your seeds, fertilizer, and tools wherever you need them rather than having to drag them back and forth.
When it comes to materials, you can choose from a wide range of different woods, metals, and plastics. But don't just pick the one that's the prettiest — you also have to think about where your potting bench will spend the majority of its time and make sure it can stand up to those conditions. For instance, if you live in a very humid climate and your potting bench will be outdoors, look for one that's sealed to keep moisture out.
Cleaning up is arguably the worst part of gardening, which is why some potting benches come with sinks or trimming bins to make the process less painful. These handy little features give you a spot to sweep excess dirt, leaves, and other debris to keep it away from your work surface, and many of them are detachable, making them easy to dump when you're finished.
Tips For Container Gardening
The first step in potting plants is choosing a container. Unglazed clay and terracotta pots are pretty, but they can absorb moisture and cause the soil to dry out faster, so you will need to water more often. Plastic and glazed ceramic pots will help the soil hold onto water for longer. The size of your container is also important. If the pot is too small, it won't provide enough room for your plant to grow a large root system. But if it's too big, it will take a long time for the soil to dry out after watering, putting your plant at risk for root rot. Ideally, you want a pot that's two to four inches larger in diameter than the plant, which gives it room to grow without overwhelming it.
If the pot is too small, it won't provide enough room for your plant to grow a large root system.
Overwatering is one of the most common reasons that plants in containers die. When the soil becomes too moist, the roots can't absorb the oxygen the plant needs to survive. If a plant is waterlogged for an extended period, the soil becomes a breeding ground for fungi that cause the roots to decay. Every type of plant is different, but the general rule of thumb is to only water them when the top inch or two of soil is dry to the touch. Or, you could make things even easier on yourself by using self-watering planters.
Another way to prevent overwatering is to make sure your planters have plenty of drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. While you can buy containers that already have drainage holes, if you have some pots at home that don't have any, it's not hard to add them yourself. For clay and ceramic pots, you'll need an electric drill. If the pot is unglazed, soaking it in water for a few hours will soften it and reduce the risk of cracking. When you're ready to drill, go very slowly and don't apply pressure — the drill will do all the work for you. For plastic containers, you can use a drill or simply hammer a nail through the base of the pot.