How To Choose A Planter Pot

Plants are a great asset to your home. In addition to their decorative aspects, they clean the air, lessen your stress and physical discomforts, and keep out noise, to name only a few of their benefits. The planter pots are an asset to the plants and to your décor.

You may be surprised at how many different planters there are. For instance, go to a nursery and there will be planters as far as the eye can see - every kind you can imagine and more. Where to start! We have collected some guidelines to help you decide on the perfect pots for your precious plants.

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What Size Should the Planter Pot Be?

Plants are like Goldilocks: They want a pot that is just the right size. If the pot is too small, the soil dries out, the roots get all cramped up and are deprived of oxygen and nutrients, and the plant wilts. At least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space is needed around the roots. If the pot is too large, the soil stays wet longer and mold, rot and root diseases can result. If your only choice is between too small and too large, choose too large. Roots really need room to grow.

If you have a plant with large, deep roots (i.e., large plants with lots of foliage), use a deep pot - as deep as it is wide works well. Plants with shallow roots need shallow pots, for example, succulents and cacti.

Aesthetically speaking, the pot should be about half the height of the plant: a 10-inch (25 cm) plant looks best in a 5-inch (13 cm) pot. 

Stores (discount department, grocery, hardware) label planter pots in inches (centimeters). Nurseries label them in gallons (liters), which is more puzzling to the casual plant lover. You can find a chart on the Internet that will convert gallons to inches. Or use a measuring tape to find the diameter of the pot across the top, the size of the pot in inches.

What Is the Best Material for Planter Pots?

There actually is no "best." The material depends on what you like, but it is good to know what materials are out there and a little about each.


Plastic pots are lightweight and a good choice when weight matters, such as with hanging baskets or if you intend to move the plants around. They also come in a pleasing selection of shapes and colors, are inexpensive and keep the soil moist longer. A downside is that they fade and become brittle if in direct sunlight.

Note: Do not use black or dark-colored plastic pots in a very sunny location. These colors absorb heat, get very hot, and damage roots.

Oval Plastic Planter Pot in Beige
Long Plastic Planter Pot in Brown
Blue Plastic Pot Planter
Light Brown Long Plastic Pot Planter
Small Black Plastic Pot Planter
Long Classic Plastic Planter Pot

Terra Cotta

Terra cotta pots are great for plants that like dry or well-aerated soil, e.g., cacti, succulents, orchids, bromeliads and any plant that does not want to sit in water. The earthy terra cotta color enhances the beauty of most plants and fits in with most decors. They are, however, heavy and comparatively expensive.

Note: A trolley with castors will allow you to move around a heavy planter pot.

White Terra Cotta Planter Pot
Grey Bulb Styled Terracotta Planter Pot
2-Piece Terra Cotta Planter Pot Set
Brown Terra Cotta Pot Planter
Green Oval Terra Cotta Planter Pots
Black Terra Cotta Planter Pot


Ceramic or glazed pots are fabulously decorative. They come in vibrant colors and a cornucopia of attractive designs. Tropical plants love them because the soil in ceramic pots stays moist.  They are sturdy, heavy and expensive. However, they are often seen for sale at flea markets and yards sales, so you can get a deal if you look around.

Decorative 3-Piece Ceramic Planter Pot Set
White Ceramic Planter Pot for Desk
Double Colored Ceramic Planter Pot
Blue Glossy Ceramic Pot Planter
White Ceramic Planter Pot with Legs


Wood planters look great, retain water well and are relatively lightweight. They must be made from rot-resistant wood, such as cedar or redwood. If made from a soft wood, make sure you stain the wood or paint it with non-toxic paint.

Wood Planter Pot Set for Small Plants
Big Wood Planter Pots
Wooden Water Can Styled Planter Pots
Drawer Styled Wood Planter Pot
Round Teak Wood Planter Pot


Metal planters are durable, fashionable, and make eye-catching accents that fit into every décor, from shabby chic to ultra-modern. Find your own metal planter, e.g., an old watering can, and your planter will be unique.

A problem is that metal pots overheat quickly, and the heat can stress your plants and damage their roots. You can protect your plants by "double potting," put the plant into a plastic insert, then put the insert into the metal planter. Or you can line your metal planters with bubble wrap to insulate the soil and roots from the hot metal.


Resin planters are lightweight, durable and inexpensive. They also can look like any other material, such as clay or stone without the back-breaking weight. They come in dozens of shapes, so you are sure to find pots that you love.

Golden Metal Planter Pot
Grey Metal Freestanding Planter Pot
Burgundy Resin Planter Pot
Sea Blue Resin Planter Pot
White Long Resin Planter Pot

Eco-friendly Materials

You will find many eco-friendly planters: untreated wood planters, pots made from recycled paper, bamboo, corn husks, peat, coconut coir or rice straw. You also can choose upcycled planters, such as old wine or whiskey barrels.

Acacia Wood Barrel Planter Pot
Natural Stone Planter Pot
Eco-friendly Bamboo Planter Pot
Eco-friendly Pumice Planter Pot
Big Bamboo Outdoor Planter Pot

What Are the Different Types of Planters?

Planter Pots

These are the planters that you see everywhere, in the materials that we have already discussed. Typically, they are round, oval, square or rectangular and free standing.

Hanging Planters

These planters are most often round but can be any shape. They are very decorative and perfect for a small space where you do not have room for planters on the floor or on stands. Drill a hook into the ceiling and hang the planter from ropes or macrame hangers. Pets and children cannot get to them - a bonus not only because of the mess from disturbed soil but also because many plants are poisonous.

Window Boxes

Window boxes can be used outside or inside the window. If you have an indoor/outdoor box, you can have it outside in warm weather and take it inside when temperatures start to drop. Plants along the window ledge or the wall below the window add personality and coziness to the room.

Vertical Wall Planters

Vertical wall planters are becoming more and more popular. There are many different types available or you can make your own vertical garden by arranging individual planters on the wall any way you like. They save space when it is at a premium. And they are "two-fers," both an indoor garden and wall art.

Luminous Planters

These are also "two-fers." They are beautiful pots for your plants while they create a romantic, ethereal atmosphere.  The LED light illuminates the plant and provides a soft glow to a darkened or dim-lit room. They are usually made from white polyethylene plastic in an array of sizes and shapes. Use them indoors or on the patio.

UV-resistant Planter Pot finished in Brown
White Hanging Planter Pots
Rectangular Metal Window Box Planter
Cast-Iron Vertical Wall Planter
White and Gold Wall Planter Set
Luminous Plastic Planter Pots

Be the First on Your Block!

This is simply a little aside, because these are too cool not to share: wearable planters. Really!

The planters are made of a durable plastic resin that lends itself to an endless variety of artful forms, and there are necklaces, brooches, and lapel pins that hold a sprig, succulent, air plant or a freshly cut flower. It's fun watching those whom you encounter trying to come to terms with your wearing a plant!