Tips for Picking the Perfect Plant Pot
With every houseplant impulse-buy comes the task of having to choose a plant pot—after all, the thin plastic containers they come in aren’t exactly on-trend. But you can’t make your decision purely based on aesthetics—houseplants are pretty diverse in their sizes and needs, so you have to be mindful of their unique requirements.
To make sure you don’t accidentally plant your new potted beauty into an uncomfortable container that cramps its style (and its roots) take a look at this guide to shopping for houseplant containers. Your plants are like pieces of art, and their pots are the medium in which you display them, so you’ll want them to look good while also being a practical, appropriate style and material.
Why Is It Important to Choose the Right Plant Pot?
The appearance and style of your pot should factor into the decision quite a bit since it will end up being a significant accent piece within your home’s decor. However, there are still some other criteria you should look out for, such as the size of your pot and the material of which it’s made. So before you grab that cute rose gold planter you’ve been eyeing, ask yourself these questions about the plant you need to repot:
- What are its watering needs? Does it need frequent watering or only occasional watering?
- What are its roots like? Are they more shallow, or do they spread out and penetrate the soil deeply?
- Will you be keeping your plant indoors, outdoors, or moving it back and forth depending on the season?
- What is the growth habit of my plant? Will it grow tall, spread outwards, or trail downwards with long vines?
What Should I Look For in a Plant Pot?
To achieve the perfect balance of style and function, search for pots that will accommodate your plant’s specific needs, which you’d have determined with the previous questions. If your plant needs frequent watering, either search for one with drainage holes or one that’s very deep and can hold a layer of pebbles at the bottom that you can layer soil on top. This will help to improve drainage and avoid water collecting at the root level and going stagnant.
Suppose your plant has a more shallow root system, like echeveria and many other succulents. In that case, you can get away with much more shallow containers or even terrariums with a simple layer of pebbles and peat moss. Epiphytic plants like staghorn and bird’s nest ferns can also handle more shallow containers, as their roots are meant to cling to surfaces and remain partially exposed to air. They can even be mounted onto plaques instead of planted in pots!
Plants with roots that spread a lot, like pothos and philodendrons, will need bigger containers and should ideally be repotted every couple of years. Some plants, like spider plants, can handle being a bit more crowded in their pot—that crowding actually helps to stimulate the growth of “pups” that can be plucked off and grown into new plants.
If your plant is of the trailing variety, like ivy or hoya, you might want to consider putting it in a hanging basket or a smaller container that you can fit onto a floating shelf so the foliage can hang down. Alternatively, you could find a pot that can fit a small trellis, so you can train your plant’s vines to climb.
The color and material of your plant’s pot are important to consider as well. If your pot will be outside in the hot sun, you might not want a black pot or a metal pot, as these will get super hot under direct sunlight, and you’ll end up having to water more frequently. Porous materials like terracotta and concrete may require more frequent watering because the moisture inside spreads and evaporates quickly. However, if you’re worried about accidentally overwatering plants indoors, porous pots are fantastic options for houseplants.
Choosing the Right Pot for Your Plant
When you’re purchasing a plant, it will be advertised along with a specified size, like 4” or 10”. This measurement doesn’t refer to the plant’s height; it refers to the size of the pot in which it should be planted! So, a 4” plant could be anywhere between an inch or a foot in height, depending on your chosen variety.
A general rule of thumb: when choosing pot size for plants, if your plant’s current container size is less than 10”, select a pot that is 1–2” bigger than its current size. If it’s over 10”, then pick a pot that’s 2–3” bigger.
Once you’ve figured out what you need in a planter pot so your new houseplant will be comfortable in its new home, you can start to have fun with style! There are so many cute colors, painted patterns, and interesting geometric shapes to choose from. Determine the color scheme of your home’s decor, whether it’s more of a cool or a warm-toned palette, and then select your pots! For larger plant collections, we recommend getting a mix of different sized pots with a blend of solid colors and patterns for balance and variety.
Plant Decor Shop has an impressive selection of diverse houseplants in all sizes and growth habits, so if you impulsively bought a cute pot with nothing to put in it, you can just pick a plant to suit the pot! Browse our online shop to see the full collection, and save big by buying one of our assorted plant packs.