What are the Different Types of Pots for Plants?

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  • Written By: R.Chin
  • Edited By: Amanda L. Wardle
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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Pots for plants, also known as planters, are used both as decorative features and to separate plants from each other. There are many different kinds of pots on the market made of a range of materials including ceramic, plastic, wood, and metal. Choosing a pot will depend on such variables as the type of plant, the cost, and aesthetic considerations.

Most pots for plants can range in size from less than 2 inches (5 cm) to more than 3 feet (0.91 meters) in diameter. They are most commonly circular, but may take any shape as long as they can hold sufficient soil for the plant to grow in. The specific dimensions of a pot will often depend on the kind of plant that may be grown in it. For example, pots for bonsai trees tend to be relatively wide and shallow to accommodate the broad root structure of those plants, while a pot for a tomato plant should be much deeper.

Terracotta pots are one of the most popular kinds of pots for plants because of their attractive reddish-orange color and relatively low price. These types usually have at least one drainage hole in the bottom and may be sold with matching plant saucers to catch the drained water. Like most ceramic pots, large terracotta pots will be very heavy and may be difficult to move.


Plastic pots are one of the cheapest and lightest kinds of planters and are usually used for temporary containment of plants, though robust containers may be used for long-term planting. Most commercially available live plants come potted in these plastic containers. The pots are usually tapered so that plants may be easily removed and replanted either in the ground or other containers — a tapered hole is easier to dig than one whose walls are completely vertical.

Another popular material for planters is wood. Wooden pots are appealing because they can be finished or painted in a variety of colors; they are usually lighter than ceramic pots but more robust than plastic ones. They may, however, be prone to rotting or termite damage in certain climates.

Occasionally, other objects may be repurposed as pots for plants. This may be out of necessity or a desire for a specific esthetic. Some classic examples of objects used to contain plants are watering cans, teacups, and buckets.

As decorative objects, pots for plants are often placed on stands, either inside or outside. Some are designed to be stacked or nested in order to make the best use of available space. In other cases, lighter pots may be hung from ceilings or other raised surfaces.


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