Best Types of Pots for Your Houseplants - Backyard Boss
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Best Types of Pots for Your Houseplants

You have chosen your perfect plants for beauty, companionship, and maybe even to purify the air. Now you’re wondering how to choose the best types of pots for your houseplants. While you will be spoilt for choice, there are some factors you need to consider.

Budget and aesthetics are often the first concerns. But your plants’ needs, such as drainage and lighting, also matter. Use the following list to simplify your container choices for your houseplants.

Clay or Terracotta

English Ivy in clay pot on shelf
Image credits:Sasha Kim via Pexels

Terracotta pots are simply made of clay without any glaze. There’s no denying the charm and warmth their earthy natural color elicits. However, they are also available in a wide range of hues and patterns that can blend into your décor.

Another big appeal of terracotta pots is that they are porous, which makes it less likely for you to commit the most common potted plant sin: overwatering.

Clay pots do have some drawbacks. For instance, they are heavier than some other types of pots. They are also easily breakable, and unsightly mineral deposits can develop around the tops and exteriors.

Pro Tip: To ensure that you are getting a high-quality clay pot, run your fingernail along the surface. Lower-quality pots will develop a streak or scratch.

Plastic Pots

Plastic Pots for Houseplants Poinsettia
Image credits: Orehova via Shutterstock

Plastic pots are the most common containers for houseplants. They’re budget-friendly, available in a wide range of sizes, colors, and shapes, and are lightweight. Plastic containers are also less likely to break than clay or ceramic pots.

Plastic pots color can fade over time if placed in sunny indoor spots, but the biggest concern for home gardeners is their lack of porosity. To counter this drawback, make sure the pots have drainage holes and avoid overwatering plants by watering them from the bottom.

Keep in mind that some water-loving plants — such as ferns and elephant ears — fare better in plastic pots. And a water meter can also be your best gardening friend if you are prone to overwatering your plastic-potted plants.

Pro Tip: The bigger a plastic pot is, the thicker it should be to stand up to the weight of the soil it will contain. So, avoid thin, larger plastic containers.

Cedar or Redwood Pots

wooden planter box for succulents
Image credits: Belolapkavia Shutterstock

While wooden pots aren’t the first choice for many home gardeners, they add an unmistakable rustic charm to your décor. They are also natural fits for quaint, artsy, and modern industrial interiors.

Wooden pots are lighter and less breakable than clay and they do not retain heat as much as plastic. However, be sure to choose wooden pots that are made from cedar or redwood. These materials are naturally resistant to decay so they don’t need to be treated with chemicals that can leach into the soil.

Pro Tip: If you use wooden pots that have been treated, it’s best to line them with plastic before adding the soil and houseplants. Also, consider lining untreated wooden pots that aren’t rot-resistant to make them last longer.

Biodegradable Pots

Herbs seedlings growing in a biodegradable pots near garden tools on white wooden table. Indoor gardening, Homegrown plants, germinating herb seeds, close up
Image credits: Katrinshine via Shutterstock

These containers might not win any beauty contests, but they are smart selections for a variety of reasons.

Made from natural materials such as peat, wheat, rice, coir, straw, and cow manure, they are biodegradable and reusable. They are winners with gardeners searching for eco-friendly containers for their houseplants — even if they have to pay a slightly higher price for them.

Like clay or terracotta containers, biodegradable pots are also breathable and soak up water. Luckily they’re also available in a variety of sizes and colors.

Pro Tip: Biodegradable pots are ideal for simplifying transplanting and reducing root shock. But, once placed in the larger pot, make sure they are completely covered with soil — including the rim — to reduce quick water loss.

Hypertufa Pots

hypertufa flower pot and decorations
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Stone pots can add an air of earthiness or elegance. However, their timeless appeal is often overshadowed by their weight and high costs.

Enter hypertufa, a pseudo-stone that is lighter and cheaper than the real thing.

Available in a myriad of shapes and sizes, these pots can be a combination of peat moss, Portland cement, water, and either perlite, sand, or vermiculite. Depending on the blend, they can last for 10 to 20 years but are breakable.

Pro Tip: If you are crafty, you can make your own hypertufa pots for your houseplants.

Decorative Pots

Mettalic Pots with Cacti Houseplants
Image credit: Kara Eads via Unsplash

As houseplants are part of your indoor décor, it’s understandable that you might prefer pots that reflect your personality or design theme. Some might be metallic, ceramic, fiberglass, or resin.

Unfortunately, many decorative pots do not come with drainage holes. So, to avoid compromising your houseplants’ health, try double potting. In other words, use a cachepot. Simply put, this involves placing one pot inside a slightly larger pot. Typically, the inner pot is a clear or plain plastic pot with drainage holes that is a bit shorter than the decorative pot.

Before adding the inner pot, place a layer of stones in the bottom of the larger as a little built up water won’t hurt. Last but not least, don’t let your plant sit in its soaking-wet decorative pot for too long, as standing water can lead to root rot. Remember to empty the outer pot after each watering session.

Pro Tip: A plastic pot serves as an effective insulating liner for metallic pots, which can easily become overheated.

Recycled Materials

Flowering Plant in Teapot
Image credit: Shruthi Gowda via Unsplash

Whether they are old teapots, wellies, or toys, recycled materials can be some of the best types of pots for your houseplants. They tick the sustainability box and kick your creativity into overdrive so you can express yourself in the most personal and unique way.

Whatever material you choose, make sure it meets the most critical criteria for the houseplant it will house, such as size and drainage. If it doesn’t have drainage and you are not double potting, drill a few holes at the bottom before you use it.

Pro Tip: Thoroughly clean any recycled container you use for your houseplants so residue or old fungi won’t reappear. Also check for any cracks because these will leak water, soil, and fertilizer.

Other Factors to Consider

Azalea Houseplant
Image credits: New Africa via Shutterstock

Shape: Choose cylindrical, square, or rectangular pots instead of tapered pots, which hold more soil at the top and allow more water to evaporate.

Color: Avoid putting plants that need lots of sunlight in dark-colored pots like black, dark gray, or dark green. They retain too much heat, which dries out the potting medium more quickly and damages roots.

Saucers. Ensure that any pot with drainage holes — including those for hanging plants — has trays or saucers to catch water to avoid ruining your floors or floor coverings.

Watering. Houseplants in smaller pots need to be watered more frequently than those in larger pots.

Picking Pots for Houseplants

Don’t be overwhelmed by the sheer volume and variety of gardening containers. Just keep the pointers here in mind when choosing the best types of pots for your houseplants. To narrow your options, focus on your budget, drainage, purpose, and size. After that, add your creativity and décor preferences to the mix — You won’t go wrong.

Do you stick to one type of pot or mix things up? Share it with others in the comments below.