Feeling a little lost when it comes to picking the perfect pot? While terra cotta, plastic and ceramic pots can all be a perfect home for your houseplant, there are pros and cons to using each. Today we’re diving into picking the perfect pot for your plant.
First, before we get into the specific types of pottery, let’s talk about drainage holes. Drainage holes are important because your potted plants need drainage. If you let water sit in your soil with no drainage hole, you could oversaturate your plants roots and get root rot, bacteria or fungus. Find a planter you love, but it has no hole? Try keeping your houseplant in a smaller well-draining plastic container then placing this container inside your desired pot. Additionally, if re-potting a houseplant; we suggest only going 2-4 inches larger than the current pot.
First, let’s start with terra cotta; otherwise known as unglazed clay. Unglazed clay is extremely porous, meaning air can easily flow through and your plants roots can be properly ventilated; which helps avoid root rot. The porous material also helps the soil drain quickly; which is great if you’re an over-waterer and tend to give your houseplants a little too much attention. The cons of terra cotta are that they’re fragile containers; the slightest drop could easily crack the entire thing! Additionally, with time visible signs of aging occur on terra cotta. The minerals in water can evaporate and leave deposits on the outside of the pot. While it’s quick draining attributes can be a positive, on the flipside because the pot dries the soil so quickly your plant could dry out completely. Last, terra cotta is extremely sensitive to tempura; if you bring your houseplants outside any drops in temperate can cause the moisture inside the terracotta to freeze, expand, and crack.
Next, plastic pots. Plastic pottery has come a long way and the textures and styles can mimic your favorite ceramic or concrete pots! Because plastic is not porous, these pots hold water extremely well; this is great for people who either underwater or for plants that love a nice moist soil. Plastic is also the most durable pottery option; this is great for homes with children or pets, or large plants that need to sit on the floor. While buying new plastic is not the most environmentally conscious, plastic pottery can be cleaned and reused many times over. Some negative aspects of using plastic pottery are that they have little to no airflow because of the non-porous material. If you overwater, the roots can easily be sitting in excess moisture with no air flow; a recipe for fungus and pests.
Last, glazed ceramic pottery. While the inside may be the same unglazed clay as terracotta, the outside is glazed and decorated. These beauties can be some of the most unique and visually interesting pottery options. While the unglazed clay is present, because of the layer of glaze on the outside ceramic pottery typically has little to no airflow for the plant’s roots. Additionally, because of this layer of glaze on the outside less moisture can evaporate and escape the pot; meaning that they hold moisture extremely well. As with plastic pottery, this is a pro and a con. Holding moisture is good for plants that like to stay continuously wet, but bad for those who enjoy a good dry-out in between watering’s. For those who forget to water, self-watering ceramic pottery is a great option! An inside cup made from unglazed clay sits in a ceramic pot that you can fill with water. The clay then absorbs the water from the reservoir, allowing your plant to get a drink whenever it wants!
With all pots, if there is a hole in the bottom, we recommend setting it on a water catch tray or dish. This catches the excess water that drains out of your pot post-watering. Make sure you are diligent about cleaning and drying these dishes so they are able to serve their purpose. A dish filled with water under a plant with a hole provides the same situation as a pot with no hole; less air flow and possible root rot!