The difference between terracotta, ceramic and plastic pots, and why it matters for your plants

Illustration for the article The Difference Between Terracotta, Ceramic and Plastic Pots, and Why They Matter for Your Plants

Photo: Sergey Ryjov (Shutterstock)

Different pots have different uses for your houseplants and planters. Plants behave differently in plastic containers than in glazed ceramic pots, and each jar has its own set of care instructions. So what is the difference between these different pots and planters? It comes down to breathability and moisture retention. Here are the things to consider when looking for the perfect potted house for your plants.

What are the advantages of a plastic flowerpot?

Plastic pots refer to the hard plastic pots that you will find at your local garden center or hardware store (nnot to be confused with the thin plastic planters supplied with the newly purchased plants). The advantages of plastic pots are their ability to retain moisture and their overall light weight.

Plant maintenance technician Paula palma with Planters Square uses large plastic pots for their citrus plants. The lemon trees that she plants need a lot of space to grow and she needs to be able to move the pots around easily. The high level of moisture retention of plastic jars are great for water loving plants like ferns and orchids. Plastic containers are also very durable and don’t break as easily as a ceramic pot. An average plastic jar will work about $ 3.

When to choose an enamelled ceramic pot

Ceramic pots can sometimes look like terracotta, but they have marked differences in appearance and function. Both are made of porous clay, but ceramic pots are usually glazed, which changes their absorption capacities. The glaze prevents the soil from drying out as fast as its terracotta cousin. Just be be careful when moving a ceramic enamel pot-they can get pretty heavy once your plant is in it.

Ceramic pots are great for spider plants, baby’s tears, and other plants that thrive with slow drainage. Enamel pots are also on the more expensive end of the pot spectrum, costing around $ 80 – $ 150, depending on the size and where you shop. Keep an eye out when selecting your pot — sSome don’t have the necessary drainage holes, so you’ll want to make sure you have the correct jar before you buy.

Why choose terracotta pots?

The terracotta pots are called fast drying pots. Clay highlights water away from the interior, allowing the potting mix to dry out faster than a plastic pot without porosity. The texture of the pot allows an optimal air circulation for the development of the roots of the plants, and the speed dry prevents root rot.

Terracotta pots are great for succulents, cacti, and other desert plants. These porous pots can create the perfect drainage and growing environment, but they also break easily. These Pots can cost anywhere from under a dollar at $ 10 or more, according to the size you need.


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