The best way to choose pots for your plants

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It is just as important to choose the right pots for your plants as it is to take good care of them properly.

The following four aspects need to be considered when choosing pots for plants;

  • Size
  • Drainage
  • Material 
  • Style

Your plants rely on them equally!

Investing some time and effort into finding the right pot for a plant is much more than picking just any old one!

But do not be alarmed! I am sure you will have the knowledge to make the right decision after reading this article!


To get started, let’s talk about size.

Size matters! The answer is obvious, right?

There is really no reason to repot a plant immediately after you take it home from the store, except if you don’t like the pot it’s currently planted in. 

A brand new plant is unlikely to have to be repotted into a bigger pot, (unless it was neglected by the store owners).

You may need to give your new plant a few weeks before repotting it, even if you just wish to switch your plastic greenhouse pot for one of a nicer kind.

Switching from one space to another, with new light and humidity conditions, is one big environmental shock for any plant.

I also suggest that you consider the time of year when you repot your plants. If it is winter, perhaps you should just be patient until Spring.

You can repot your plant into a different pot once it has settled in, and Spring has come.

You can plant the plant into a bigger pot if the roots have grown so large that they are cramped in the pot it is in now. What difference does it make? Keep reading!

Plants that are two weeks old and pretty much the same size can be repotted into the same size pot.

There are three things you need to consider when repotting;

  • you should treat the soil appropriately for your plants.
  • the proper size pot,
  • a pot with the proper drainage.

Big box stores carry a pretty wide variety of soil mixes.

In terms of size, we’ll talk about it below.

For the drainage, you’ll need to wait for the next section.

Choosing the right pot size is one of the most important aspects of choosing the best pots for your plants.

You always want to repot your plant in at least one size bigger than it started in, so if it’s grown out of a 4 inch pot, you don’t want to repot it into an 8 inch pot immediately. 

You can actually damage your plant if you go too big.

Too much soil for little roots. Root rot will result from excessive water retention in extra soil.

A root system is also more efficient than developing stems and leaves, so the plant will spend more energy growing roots.

As a result, it is important that you document the plant you intend to repot, as different plants have different requirements.

Several plant species, such as Peace Lilies, enjoy being rootbound, and as such, their roots do not need being repotted for quite a while, even when they look like their leaves are bulging out of the pot.

Plants with large pot sizes can reach a plateau; for example, Strelitzias can be repotted until they reach the 14′′ pot size. Repotting them is no longer necessary after that.


Making the right decisions for the health of your plants means choosing pots with proper drainage. That’s why choosing pots with good drainage is super important! 

The topic of Plant Drainage even received its own article! To learn everything about it, I recommend reading it.

With so many things to consider, it can be overwhelming to choose the right pot, but if I could narrow it down to one most important aspect, I would recommend drainage!

Make sure your pot has drainage holes!

If your pot doesn’t have drainage holes, your plant can become waterlogged, and eventually die.

You can get away without drainage holes and still use the beautiful pot you fell in love with. 

Nevertheless, as a rule, I recommend using pots with drain holes.


One of the most important aspects of choosing the best pots for your plants is the pots material.

There seems to be no disagreement on the matter regarding the best pot material for plants to be ceramics, followed by plastic and terracotta.

Based on my personal experience with INDOOR plants, I tend to disagree with this opinion. 

As it seems most planters articles were written for outdoor plants, the literature on this subject does not seem to be relevant enough to this subject.

Terracotta pots are the most durable pots for houseplants, based on my personal experience.

Despite the fact that terracotta is quite porous, it tends to dry out soil much faster than other pots, such as plastic and ceramic, but considering controlled conditions of an indoor environment, it is not such a big deal. 

Additionally, the majority of terracotta pots have drainage holes, while the majority of ceramic pots do not.

The advantage of ceramic pots is that, they are glazed inside and out, and for this reason, are less porous than terracotta pots, allowing them to retain moisture for longer periods of time.

Plastic pots, on the other hand, are lighter, virtually indestructible, come in every possible shape and colour, and always have the best type of drainage. However, they have no porosity at all, retaining moisture for even longer periods, which can become risky if the excess water is not removed from saucers, or, if the pot doesn’t have drainage.

But, let’s look at these material’s pros and cons in detail here.


During the Middle Ages, terracotta material was used to make pottery. 

The ceramic is made from unglazed clay and is not glazed.

Some higher quality glazed terracotta pots are available, designed to prevent excessive moisture loss when left outdoors, but are not recommended for indoor plants and flowers.


  • Fairly inexpensive.
  • This makes the soil very porous, and as a result great for plants and grasses that need dry soil to thrive.
  • Great drainage.
  • The neutral and attractive color goes with every plant.


  • Easily breakable when mis-handled.
  • Crack in cold outdoors winter temperatures.
  • Pots that are full of soil tend to be heavy containers.
  • For plants that thrive in moist soil conditions, it can be too porous.


A glaze of finely textured clay is applied both on the inside and outside.

A kiln consists of high-temperature firings, which reduces the pot’s porosity.

Lower porosity means that the soil holds moisture for longer periods of time, losing less moisture than terracotta.

Ceramic pots are better suited to outdoors plants because of this.

As a result of the hot summers, the soil is more likely to dry out, than indoors, where the climate is generally controlled.


  • Durable and less breakable than terracotta pots.
  • It helps plants thrive that thrive in moist soil for longer periods of time, because the pots are less porous than terracotta pots.
  • There are many different colors and shapes available.


  • Expensive.
  • Many of these pots do not have drainage holes.
  • When filled with soil, large pots can be particularly heavy.


Plastic is the default material for pots. 

You can buy plastic pots very cheaply, they last forever, they drain the best, and some of them are quite attractive!

However, just because they have the best drainage holes does not mean they are the best pots. 

The roots of plastic have no breathing capacity, so the plastic is impermeable to air. 

Plants placed in plastic pots with a lot of holes and then in a beautiful pot placed inside the plastic pot will suffer from extensive damage.


Most of the time, some water drains out of the draining holes when you water your plants. 

If water remains in the bottom of a plastic container that is enclosed in another container without draining holes, it will build up and eventually damage the roots. 

Instead of a plastic pot, a terracotta pot would absorb the excess water from the plant, and let the moisture in the air into the air.


  • Inexpensive.
  • Light.
  • Attractive colours and shapes.
  • Excellent drainage.
  • Non porous and ideal for plants that thrive in moist soil.


  • Non porous


Now the fun part!

The best pots for your plants also involve matching the plant’s personality and aesthetic to its pot, making sure that the combination of the two suits your home’s style.

There are several ways to accomplish this.

You can either group different plants together with common themes and coloured pots, or group the same type of plants together with different styles of pots.

No matter what you do, prioritise the drainage, the size and the material. 

Your space can be creative. Don’t forget it!


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