The Genuine Article
The most durable versions are made of a rot-resistant wood, such as cedar. No matter how strong the wood, most have to be replaced in 5 to 20 years.
The Flattering Imitation
As anyone in a house with a wood-paneled rumpus room knows, simulated wood is a far cry from the real thing. That said, the best of the bunch is the 18½-inch-tall all-weather Terrazza Square Planter ($80, gardeners.com
) from Gardener's Supply, which weighs 11 pounds.
"The white plastic boxes will never age nicely or become less glaringly white and fake looking," says Blumenthal. All the pros agreed, however, that the faux could pass for real if amply filled.