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A Guide to Flower Pots

Here is an audio recording of this post!

There are so many types of pots out there, it can be incredibly hard to tell what type you need! What things should you consider?

  • Cost – pots can range in price. You should think about how much you want to spend on your plant pot. You might not want to spend anything! If that is the case, we will lay out some ways to reuse items you likely have into plant pots.
  • Environmental impact – some pots take more natural resources and energy to make than others. It is important to think about what went into making your pot. Buying pots from local pottery shops can help support local artists and let your mind rest knowing that it was not environmentally costly. You can also avoid this altogether and make your own pot!
  • Longevity – some pots will last longer than others. Think about it this is a pot you want to be outside year after year or if you have an annual sitting on your window seal.

Here are some common types of pots and what impacts they have on your plant!

  • Terracotta: Terracotta is a clay without a glaze on top which makes it breathable and allows the soil to dry evenly. This is good if you plants are suffering root rot or need a well-drained soil. These pots are generally pretty cheap.
  • Glazed pots: You can also get pots that have been painted and glazed. These pots will not let the soil dry as evenly as terracotta. If your plant requires nearly constant moisture these are an excellent option! They will also last a very long time. Usually, these cost a bit more than terracotta since they have the added paint and glaze.
  • Plastic: These are a cheaper option than glazed and terracotta pots for a plant that prefers moisture to stay in the soil. They are lightweight and flexible and will not break if you drop them. They do not last as long as a glazed pot, as they can crack over time.
  • Metal: These pots can often overheat if they are outside or in direct light. If you are set on the look of a metal pot, you can line it with a plastic pot to protect the plant roots. Metal pots are often more expensive as they require more natural resources.
  • Wood: The biggest thing to consider with wood is making sure that you chose a rot resistant wood. If your wood is not treated, then the soil and water can easily break it down overtime. If you purchase a wooden pot it is likely already treated, but if you are building your own pay close attention to your materials. Anything that is made treated for outdoor use should be okay!

Considerations for you plant:

  • Color – If you have a plant that will need direct sunlight it is best to avoid black or very dark pots. They will absorb the sunlight, heat up and cook your plant!
  • Size – make sure that your plant will have enough room for its roots. The bigger the plant, the more room its roots will need. If you are planting a tomato in a pot, make sure it is at least two feet deep, so its roots have room to grow.
  • Drainage – make sure your pot fits the water/moisture needs of your plant. You can google moisture and water with the name of your plant and find out what would work best.
  • Tray ­– especially important if you have a heavy watering hand, make sure to put a tray under your pot or be ready with a towel to wipe up the water that drains out! If your plant needs humidity, filling this tray with gravel and water is a great way to help raise the humidity levels around your plant.  

We hope this helps as you chose a pot! In the coming days we will be posting some tips on making your own pots from materials around the house.

If you would like to share images of your garden, please send us pics at earth@ku.edu. We would love to share your garden adventures with other students and staff.

You can also send us any garden/plant questions and we will do a Q&A to answer your inquires!

Yours in conservation,

Laura & Sydney/CCO Earth <3