If you have a few beautiful plants that deserve an eye-catching pot, then don’t look past ceramic as an option. When it comes to choosing a pot for your houseplant, it’s not just the on-trend colours that may be the drawcard, the actual material it’s made out of is just as important. The construction material of your pot can affect how much moisture is retained and how well the soil drains which ultimately affects the health of your plant.
The discussion over ceramic planters and plastic pots is long-standing and depends on how often you water and the plant’s moisture needs. In general, ceramic pots are a great all-around choice; they are versatile and can be used as a decorative feature and colour matched for both indoor and outdoor use.
You can purchase these pots either glazed on unglazed. Glazed simply means they have been sealed with a coat of lacquer which helps to prevent the soil from drying out, making them ideal pots for plants that thrive in moist soils such as the Spider plants, Boston ferns and Baby tears. So, if you tend to have heavy hand watering, then ceramic pots are an ideal choice for your potted plants.
Unglazed clay pots as their name suggests are pots that are not sealed, which allows air and water to wick through the sides of the pot. This natural aeration helps to stimulate healthy plant growth. However, having said this, the reverse is also true in that unglazed pots can leech moisture out of the soil, which is an advantage if you have plants that prefer dry soils or if you tend to water too frequently. Just remember plants in ceramic pots that need regular watering will require more water than plants in plastic pots because of the ceramic’s permeability.
Weight Is Not Always Bad
Ceramic pots are heavier than plastic pots and while they are less likely to tip over they are also heavier to move, particularly if you have a large ceramic pot. Weight is not always a disadvantage particularly if you have a plant that tends to grow top-heavy, the actual weight of a ceramic pot makes an ideal stable base.
If houseplants are moved outdoors at any time during the year, ceramic pots are a great choice. The thick heavy walls help to protect the plant roots against varying temperature changes. Plastic pots provide little to almost no insulation from fluctuating temperatures so if you like to switch it up by moving your plants in and out then a ceramic pot is your best option.
Ceramic Potting Tips
Whether you choose ceramic, clay or plastic make sure your pot has drainage holes. Soggy watered soil can lead to root rot, so if the pots are sitting on a tray to catch water, remember to empty the tray after every water to get rid of the excess. Alternatively, you can put a layer of pebbles in the tray to lift the pot above the water level to function like a natural drainage bed.
Choosing the correct pot size is also important. It may seem simple, but the size of your pot has a big impact on the health of your plant. If you have not already noticed plants are labelled with sizes. These sizes refer to the diameter of the pot, not the size of the plant inside it. As your plant grows, you’ll need to re-pot it occasionally to let its roots expand and keep it looking its best. As your plant grows trim the foliage to maintain a comfortable size relative to the pot or transplant it into a more suitable larger container. Choose a deep container for fast-growing plants with deep root systems and shallower containers for slower-growing plants that have shallow roots.
A good rule of thumb is to increase your pot size only by 25mm or 50mm for smaller plants and 50mm to 100mm for larger plants each time you re-pot and the pot’s diameter should be the same as one-third of the plant’s height measured from the soil base to the top of the foliage.
If you’re browsing through the selection of pots available and having trouble deciding, have a quick read of the plant’s description tag. The label will tell you the plant’s ideal environment. If it’s a succulent or a plant that likes dry soil conditions you might be better off in a ceramic pot, if it’s a plant that enjoys a moist and damp environment you might like to choose a plastic pot.
Plant containers come in a wide variety of colours, shapes, prices, sizes and materials. The pot you choose can have a lasting effect on the health and well-being of your plant. Some gardeners love plastic pots, while others will swear by earthenware or ceramic pots, at the end of the day, plants live longer and thrive when their individual needs are met.
Where you want to keep your potted plant, your climate, the aesthetic appeal, watering routine, ease of maintenance, personal preferences and costs are all factors you need to consider before you decide on which pot to use.
If you’re having trouble finding the right pot ask one of our team members at Mazzega’s Landscaping Supplies, we would love to help you make the perfect match.