How to Choose the Right Plant Pots

plant pots

Plant pots are functional, but they can also be decorative. Whether you want something subtle that will let the foliage shine or something to dress up your greenery, you have choices. While the look is significant, you should also consider the material and drainage. Here’s everything you need to know about plant pots.

The Material Matters

The look of a pot is important, but the planter material also matters, especially when placing a plant directly in a pot. The planter material can impact the plant, and the pot you select will dictate how you care for the plant. Understanding the different containers and their impact allows you to provide the best care possible for the plant.

Glazed Ceramic

Glazed ceramic plant pots are made from clay, and during the manufacturing process, they are covered with a glaze and fired during the manufacturing process. The glaze fuses with the clay, and this creates a waterproof barrier. Glazed ceramic pots are not porous, and they hold water, making them suitable for plants with medium to high water needs. Glazed ceramic pots are not the best choice for plants with low water needs. It is difficult for the soil to completely dry out because the pot is watertight.

Unglazed Ceramic and Terra Cotta

Unglazed ceramics are clay pots that have not gone through the glazing process, so the clay retains its porous traits. Terra cotta is very similar to unglazed ceramic.

Unglazed ceramic and terra cotta plant pots are ideal for plants that like to dry out, like succulents and cacti. Excess water can evaporate through the pot, letting the soil completely dry. Durability is the biggest downfall of unglazed ceramic and terra cotta. A nudge may cause the pot to chip or crack, and a fall from a shelf will definitely result in a shattered pot. Severely rootbound plants may crack terra cotta or unglazed ceramic pots.

plant pots


Plastic is a popular material for plant pots because it is watertight, durable, and available in various colors. The durability of plastic ensures it will not rot when exposed to damp conditions and will not shatter if it takes a tumble.

Plastic plant pots may fade after a prolonged time in the sun. Although, a benefit of plastic is that it is recyclable, so if the pot is damaged or you just no longer need it, you can responsibly dispose of it.

Other Options

Materials like wood and metal can give your space a specific look, but they are not always the best options when growing a plant directly in a planter. Depending on the type, metal may rust, and wood will rot. 

Fiberglass is a popular material for outdoor planters. This material will not rot or rust, although the finish may easily scratch. Cement has been trendy for a while since. It can be molded into various shapes and dyed in a wide array of colors. Plant pots made from cement add a nice textural element that contrasts the organic greenery. Cement is porous and has the same traits as unglazed ceramic and terra cotta. 

plant pots


Drainage is crucial to plant care. Whatever type of plant pots you use, they should have drainage holes so excess water has a way out. Even plants with high water needs dislike being stuck in standing water.

What is a Cover Pot?

A cover pot, also known as a cache pot, is a decorative outer pot used to conceal an inner pot that contains the plant. The inner pot should have drainage holes so that excess water can run through the container. The nursery pot that the plant was in at the store makes an excellent inner pot. The outer pot, or cover pot, can be any material and have any look. 

Cover pots don’t need to have drainage, and it may even be beneficial if the cache pot has a solid bottom, so there is no risk of a mess if the plant is overwatered. Remove the inner pot from the cover pot when watering and allow the water to drain before returning the plant to the outer plant.

plant pots

Virtually anything can be a cover pot, so if you have a cool basket, or a wooden or tin box, they are all potential cover pots. A major perk of using cover pots is that you can easily switch things up and change out the look without repotting a plant.

Understanding Plant Pots

Plant pots come in all shapes and sizes; finding the right planter for your space may take some searching. Consider the needs of your plants when selecting a pot, and consider using an inner pot and a cache pot combo to provide the best care for your plant and the right look in your space.