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What Kind Of Pot Should I Use For Indoor Plants? (With Pros And Cons)

You should consider the size and the material of the pot while choosing it for your plant. Various pots are available in the market, such as ceramic, terracotta, plastic, metal, wooden, fiberglass, etc. However, all these come with some advantages and disadvantages. It is necessary to consider both sides of the coin and then decide.

So, in this article, we will help you clear your mind and help you with the decision of what kind of pot should you use for indoor plants.

In general, unglazed ceramic pots and terracotta pots are popular pot choices for indoor plants as they allow better drainage and aeration of the soil. You can also use plastic, metal, or glazed ceramic pots for plants that prefer moist soil as they help keep the soil moist for a longer period.

If you are new at growing indoor plants or want to repot and are confused about pots, this article will help you understand the different types of pots.

Read this article till the end to know which kind of pot will be suitable for your particular plant.



Choosing the correct pot size

Whenever you choose a pot for your plant, select a pot according to the plant’s size. If you choose a relatively smaller pot, your plant will get root-bound after a few months.

Moreover, the soil will dry out quicker. This might not be a problem for drought-tolerant plants but not the ones that enjoy moist soil.

Additionally, if the plant is big compared to the pot size, the pot will not hold the plant, and the plant will fall over.

Plants such as African violets, Hoya plants, and Phalaenopsis orchids prefer growing in root-bound conditions to encourage flowering. Using small pots for these plants will work well for a period.

Some succulents, such as the cacti, do not need much space for growing. They can also grow in dry conditions. So these plants can enjoy growing in small pots.

If you choose a pot bigger than the size of your plants, you will have to use a lot of soil.

More amount of soil will take a lot of time to dry out when watered. If the plant is small, the soil will remain wet for a long time, and it might suffer from overwatering conditions.

If you own houseplants that are pretty big in size, tall and heavy, using a large pot would be ideal for them. Along with that, if you want to grow multiple types of plants together, large rectangular pots would be very much preferable.

So, it is better to choose a pot according to the size of your plant.

Select a pot with a diameter of a minimum of 1 inch wider than your plant’s root mass’ diameter. If you want to give your plant enough space to grow faster, choose a pot four inches wider.

There are different shapes of pot available – square, rectangular, round, etc. Choose the one which is ideal and suitable for your indoor plant.

Different pot materials for indoor plants

You will find different pot materials for indoor plants. Although you can use any of them, it is still essential to know and understand the merits and demerits of using these pots. After that, it would be easier for you to decide the ideal type for your houseplants.

Let’s discuss these in detail.

Terracotta pots

These are clay-based pots and are seen almost in all houses and gardens. They do not have much glaze, but they are porous. They have a warm brick color which will go well with any plant.

Merits

  • Terracotta pots are available in various sizes and will seem ideal for all large and small plants.
  • They come at different prices, ranging from cheap to costly.
  • These pots are preferable for plants that need dry and well-draining soil.
  • Terracotta pots are heavy, thus stable. They won’t tip over.

Demerits

  • As these pots promote well drainage, the possibility is that the soil will dry out faster. So you will have to water the plants more frequently.
  • Bigger pots filled with soil can get heavy. You will have to keep them over a roller stand for moving.
  • As the material is clay-based, the pot might break easily if dropped.

Ceramic pots

Ceramic pots are made of earthen materials and are less porous and denser compared to terracotta pots. These have a glazy look.

Merits

  • Ceramic pots are available in many sizes, colors, and styles, along with decorations.
  • These are more long-lasting compared to terracotta pots and won’t break easily.
  • The soil doesn’t dry up as quickly as in the terracotta pots.
  • If you want to grow plants that prefer moist conditions, ceramic pots will be ideal.
  • Ceramic pots are heavy, hence stable, and won’t fall over.

Demerits

  • One similarity and demerit between ceramic and terracotta pots is both are heavy to move. They need to be kept on rollers for easy movement.
  • The large pots can be quite costly.
  • Some ceramics lack drainage holes. You might have to drill one on your own.

Plastic pots

Plastic pots are widely used and come in a wide range of varieties. These look attractive and give your interior a beautiful look.

Merits

  • These are pretty cheap and handy.
  • These are available in a lot of colors and sizes.
  • These are much lightweight compared to terracotta and ceramic pots and thus easy to handle.
  • Plastic pots will not break if you drop them.
  • If you have plants that prefer moist or slightly damp conditions, plastic pots will be ideal for them.

Demerits

  • When exposed to sunlight for too long, plastic pots can lose their color and charm. They might become brittle and break.
  • As they are not porous, they can lead to overwatering issues.


Wooden pots

Keeping the beautiful green houseplants in wooden pots will give them a natural, rich and expensive look. Moreover, wooden pots can last for many years.

Lining the wooden pot with plastic will also increase the pot’s lifespan because that will reduce water damage. Wooden pots are mostly seen outdoors, but when used indoors, these will give a unique look.

Merits

  • You can paint them or make different drawings on their surface body to give them a unique look.
  • They are cheap.
  • They can be made with different recycled materials like crates, wooden boxes, barks, or baskets.

Demerits

  • They will need periodic resealing.
  • The quality of the wood might deteriorate over time, especially if you do not use a plastic liner. The wood will become wet, and the condition might worsen if the wood is of inferior quality.
  • These are porous and thus will dry up faster.
  • These can even face leakage. It is better to use a drip tray while using these indoors.

Metal pots

Metal pots are pretty different and give the indoors a distinctive look by adding extra design to your interiors.

Merits

  • You can reuse some metal items around the house as metal planters for your indoor plants. Just ensure the presence of drainage holes.
  • Metal planters will make unique indoor pieces.
  • These are quite enduring and long-lasting.

Demerits

  • Depending on the type of metal, the planters can form rust.
  • Large metal pots are hefty to handle after being filled with soil.
  • If you keep the pot in direct sun, it can make the soil hot and dry faster.
  • They are not porous. So there are chances of the soil remaining wet for a prolonged period, resulting in overwatering.

Fiberglass pots

You can make these by mixing fiberglass fibers along with resins. These are lightweight and easy to handle. Fiberglass pots are available in different sizes and shapes. They almost have the finishing look of plastic or ceramic pots.

Merits

  • Fiberglass pots are resistible and long-lasting.
  • These are incredibly light in weight compared to ceramic, terracotta, or metal.
  • These come in various range of sizes, shapes, and designs.

Demerits

  • These are costly.
  • They will have more brittle than plastic containers.
  • As fiberglass pots are non-porous, they can retain moisture for more extended periods.

Factors determining the selection of the right pot

When it comes to selecting the correct pot for indoor plants, it is crucial yet confusing. Pairing the plant with the right pot will give your interior a beautiful look.

Besides, it is not only the style you should think of. You should also think of other aspects such as the quality, the drainage, or the size.

After years of growing an indoor plant in one pot, now your plant must have grown bigger and will need more room for growth. You will have to repot your plant in such a case. 

While choosing the pot and using it for your indoor plant, you will need to focus on the four most important factors:

Size

The first important thing you should keep in mind is the size of the pot.

You might be repotting because your plant needs extra space for growth. You must always choose a 1-2 inches bigger pot for the plants sitting in pots with 10 inches diameter or less.

Speaking of bigger plants, choose a pot 2 to 3 inches bigger in diameter for plants growing in pots sized more than 10 inches in diameter.

Do not choose a drastically larger pot. A larger pot will not only look weird, but there will also be other issues, one of them being overwatering. Due to excess soil that will hold more water, the roots will remain wet for a long time.

Also read: What Happens If You Put A Plant in A Pot Too Big?

Drainage

Indoor plant drainage holes

Proper drainage is another important factor while choosing pots. 

Whatever pot you are using for your indoor plants, always ensure they have suitable drainage holes. This will ensure that the excess water can freely go out of the pot, and the soil will not remain wet or soggy.

Drainage holes will also allow oxygen to reach the roots.

You might end up buying a decorative pot with no drainage holes. You can drill the bottom of the pot to make drainage holes.

Also read: Do indoor plants need drainage holes?

Style

After taking care of the drainage and size, the next thing you can consider is the style. Choose a pot that you find attractive and appealing for the particular indoor plant you own.

Ceramics are pretty famous due to their glaze inside out. Moreover, these come in many styles, sizes, and colors.

You can also go for terracotta pots, as they are attractive to some extent. If you own plants like bromeliads, cacti, ferns, orchids, and some succulents, try planting them in terracotta pots.

Plastic and fiberglass too will be good choices. These are lightweight, easy to handle, easy to clean and reuse.

Cleanliness

You should always keep the pots clean to avoid all sorts of infestations and diseases. To reuse a pot, you need to clean and scrub it very well to remove all the old soil.

The clay pots might have a white crust due to mineral and salt build-up for prolonged periods. Clean them with a steel-wool pad or stiff bristle brush damped in a diluted vinegar solution.

Wash the pots well and soak them in bleach (1 part bleach and 9 parts water) for 20 to 30 minutes. This will help eliminate all the remaining bacteria, fungus, and eggs laid by bugs and insects. Rinse them again after removing them from bleach water.

For plastic pots, damp a cloth with warm soapy water and clean it. Scrub it until you remove all the soil from them. Also, perform the bleaching method mentioned above.

Basic tips for planting indoor plants in pots

Now that you know everything about the pots’ size, material, pros, and cons, choosing the right pot for your particular houseplant will become effortless for you. 

Here are some basic tips regarding planting the houseplants in pots:

  • Plant the plants in pots as deep as it was in their actual growing conditions in the nursery. Pushing them excessively deep can stress the plant, affecting its health.
  • Water the plant well after repotting or transplanting. But don’t overdo it. Proper watering and proper care will help the plant adjust to the new environment quickly.
  • Don’t stress them with fertilizer. Fertilize the plants after 4 to 6 weeks of transplantation.
  • Make the potting mixes light. Heavy potting mixes will cause trouble in drainage.

Final words

You can choose any pot, whichever design or style you like for your indoor plants. Pots can make your indoor space beautiful.

As long as you are acquainted with your indoor plant’s essential requirements, likes and dislikes, you will find it easy to select the right pot for them.

You can try decorating your interior with indoor plants by having many kinds, styles, and colors, starting from simple and slowly towards more decoration and style.

This will not only just make your indoor space beautiful, but you will also have a natural, relaxing, and calm feeling in yourself. That is the magic of indoor plants.

FAQ



Can multiple plants be grown in a single pot?

Of course, you can grow multiple species of plants in one pot. You can try using an oversized rectangular-shaped pot for that. 

But one thing you should keep in mind is that, whatever type of plant you choose to grow together, all should have the exact requirements – similar light, water, soil, temperature, fertilizer, humidity, everything. This will give one corner of your indoor space a pretty colorful look.


Ref: The University of Melbourne, University of IllinoisGrowing Indoor Plants with SuccessAgriculture, and Natural Resources, University of CaliforniaMissouri Botanical Garden.