A person may feel overwhelmed when it comes to choosing pots for indoor plants. The reasons why I repot my indoor pots were frequently asked by my readers, so I created this guide in order to help YOU choose what works best for you! This post outlines the pros and cons of five different types of indoor planters, so when it comes down to it, your selection will be best suited to YOUR needs!
So choosing the proper pot is very important, especially as my collection increases, in order to make my life easier while maintaining beautiful aesthetics.
These are the pots discussed here, with the advantages and disadvantages of each:
- PLASTIC NURSERY POTS
- UNGLAZED TERRA COTTA
- GLAZED CERAMIC OR GLAZED CLAY POTS
- POTS WITH AN ATTACHED SAUCER
- SELF-WATERING POTS
While some things may seem obvious, others may not be, I am sure that you will learn something to make your life easier!
You should always grow your plant in a pot that has drainage holes, regardless of what type of pot you are using.
Are plants able to thrive in pots with no drainage holes? You can do it, but the risks in general are too great, and I advise staying away from it all together.
So here we go! Let’s choose our pots!
Five types of indoor plant containers with pros and cons
PLASTIC NURSERY POTS
Those old, boring, dark green plastic nursery pots. Despite their slight inconsistency, they actually have quite a few benefits that you might not have thought about!
- They’re super cheap. It’s pretty obvious, right?
- When it comes time for potting, a plastic nursery pot with a bendable handle lets you remove the plant MUCH easier than a rigid plastic pot that is:
- If you attempt to take your plant out of a rigid pot, you may damage it.
- Some plants may be so difficult to remove from rigid pots that their only safe option is to break the pot! There have been times when I have removed my plants safely instead of saving the pot.
- Besides the above tip, you can also double pot plants into decorative cachepots to improve aesthetics. You can easily repot the plant when the time comes, and you can mix and match different cachepots for a different look without having to constantly repot your plant.
- They can be cleaned and reused again and again. There is a nursery near where I live that accepts them for recycling. If they get damaged, you should see if a recycling center will accept them.
- They are light, making it easier to move your plants around to water or perform other routine tasks.
- Since they tend to retain moisture better than pots made of porous material, they are excellent for moisture-loving plants like various ferns, Goeppertia (formerly known as Calathea), carnivorous plants, and many others.
- These are not the prettiest looking pots when used on their own.
- In some cases, you might not be able to grow plants or cacti in plastic pots because plastic pots don’t breathe.
- Over time, plastic containers may crack (but can be inexpensively replaced).
- Plastics are not environmentally friendly. (This can be avoided by recycling and reusing).
- When used on their own and without a heavier cachepot, they can be easily knocked over, especially if the potting mix dries out completely.
UNGLAZED TERRA COTTA
No matter what you think about them, unglazed terra cotta pots have numerous advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your growing conditions, determine if they are right for you.
Basically, baked earth is the meaning of terra cotta in Italian.
- Compared to glazed ceramic pots, terra cotta pots are more affordable.
- They are ideal for plants that dry out relatively quickly between waterings. This includes Pileas, Peperomias, Hoyas, Snake Plants, Strings, Bananas, Pearls, Hearts, and Ponytail Palms. Whenever possible, choose succulents and cacti from this collection.
- A holey pot, such as an unglazed terra cotta one, is ideal for people who have a tendency to “overwater” their houseplants, thus preventing root rot.
- They tend to develop a beautiful patina over time as they are porous. (It’s up to you though! Some people don’t like this.)
- Plastic pots provide less stability than terra cotta pots. Therefore, they are better for top-heavy plants.
- Terra Cotta looks beautiful with all kinds of plants and will give your room a warm touch.
- If you aren’t careful when moving your plants, they can crack quite easily. (Check for cracks on new terracotta pots closely when you’re buying them).
- The patina they develop over time may be appealing to some, but if you don’t love the patina, you’ll have to scrub the outside of the pot to clean it up. The white film on the outside of a pot can be caused by minerals from tap water and fertilizing.
- Many types of plants can dry out too quickly in small terracotta pots and are hard to keep watered, so being careful with plant choice is very important.
- Place a glaze-free terra cotta saucer on a wooden surface and avoid letting water seep through. This can damage wooden furniture. Saucers that have a glaze on the inside can help mitigate this.
GLAZED CERAMIC & GLAZED TERRA COTTA
Terracotta pots are sometimes painted or decorated. Pots made from ceramic materials tend to be denser than terra cotta pots and more often than not they are glazed. The advantages and disadvantages of these two products are similar.
- A wide range of sizes, shapes, and colors are available, and can add a gorgeous decorative touch to any room.
- A durable ceramic pot made of good quality glaze is very sturdy.
- Growing plants in terra cotta is like growing them in plastic pots because they don’t dry out as quickly.
- Although the price range for these pots can vary widely, they are usually much more expensive than pots made out of plastic or unglazed terra cotta pots.
- You will need to handle them carefully (especially terra cotta) because they can break and crack.
- In ceramic pots, drainage holes are usually absent (especially in glazed ceramic pots). The only time I recommend planting doesn’t have a drainage hole is if the pot is directly placed in the ground. Although you can use it as a cachepot, you can simply slip your plant, which is growing in a plastic nursery pot with drainage holes, into a decorative cachepot.
- Particularly larger pots can be pretty heavy.
- It can sometimes be challenging to remove a plant when you are repotting depending on the shape of your pot. In the worst case scenario, you may need to break the pot to free the plant, or break the root ball with a knife. (That’s why I’m a huge advocate for keeping plants in nursery pots and decorative pots as cachepots).
POTS WITH AN ATTACHED SAUCER
You might think these are convenient, but they can be tricky!
- You don’t have to move the saucer or knock it over because it’s attached to the pot.
- Although most of them have drainage holes on both ends (sometimes two), most of them drain horribly slowly. Since I don’t use this type of pot for putting anything directly in, I will never use it directly. My plants are constantly tipped over to drain excess water after they have been watered. The water will drain even after a few minutes, so you might want to take any plants in these containers to the sink to water. (You can always use it as a cachepot though, which I do these days!)
A self-watering pot may make your life a bit easier, but you need to be aware of a few things!
- Plants that hate to go dry will thrive in these pots, such as maidenhair ferns, Calathea, African Violets, ferns, and others.
- It can be easy to overlook because one only needs to check their water level from time to time to be sure they don’t run out. Because of this, it can be easy to stop checking on your plants every so often. One time I unintentionally drained a self-watering pot of water and killed a maidenhair fern, which was thriving.
- There are some potting mixes that are way too dense and will not allow enough airflow. Peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite are equal parts in a good self-watering mix. The general usage of potting mixes may substitute the peat moss in your garden.
That’s it so far! Tell me about your favorite ways to pot plants. Have you used any other types of indoor plant pots? These are certain to be the most commonly used, but there are others out there. We’d love to hear your favorites.
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