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How to Choose the Right Pot for Your Houseplant

There are a lot of factors and decisions that go into creating your own thriving indoor jungle. One of those decisions is which pot to use for each plant. We’ve put together a handy guide to help you pick out the perfect container for your houseplant.


The first thing to remember is that every indoor plant needs proper drainage. If there’s no kind of drainage under the soil, the plant will get waterlogged, which can lead to root rot and ultimately kill your plant. For the most part, this means getting a pot that has one or more holes in the bottom. When you water your plants, make sure the excess drains completely out of the bottom so the plant isn’t sitting in any water. Often, the drainage pot will sit in a cover pot that doesn’t have any holes in; these tend to be the pretty pots that you can use to decorate your home.

Alternatively, you could be growing plants in terrariums or other containers that don’t have drainage holes. In these scenarios, you’ll need to add a drainage layer at the bottom of your container. This layer is usually gravel or stones and helps to separate any excess water from the soil to make sure it doesn’t get waterlogged. If you’re using a drainage layer instead of holes, be careful with how much water you’re giving to your plants.


The size of the plant pot is another important factor for your plants’ health. There are risks with using a pot too big or too small. With too little room, they end up potbound. For some plants, this isn’t too much of an issue, but it will generally stunt their growth and can be detrimental. However, too much room can be an issue as well. With an excess of soil around the root system, the plant struggles to soak up all the water in the pot. This leads to the roots sitting in soggy soil, which can result in root rot and other health problems.

To give your plant the right amount of room, make sure the roots can sit comfortably in the pot without more than 2-3 inches of room around them. When you’re repotting your plant, choose a pot that’s one or two sizes bigger than the current one, again leaving around 2-3 inches around the root ball.


Plant pots come in lots of different materials. Each material has characteristics that make it suited to different types of plants.


Terracotta, for example, is porous and will absorb moisture from the soil. This is ideal for drought-tolerant plants like cacti and other succulents that will struggle with excess moisture. Other plants that are often overwatered would also benefit from a terracotta pot, such as hoyas and philodendrons. Terracotta is also good at retaining warmth in the soil, making it a great option for plants that originate from warmer climates.


Plastic pots, however, aren’t porous and are better at retaining moisture. This makes them better suited for plants like ferns and calatheas that like consistently moist (but not soggy!) soil. Plastic pots are easy to collect because most plants that you buy will come in a plastic nursery pot. It’s useful to hold onto these, so you have a selection of pots to use at a later date. These tend to be the types of plant pots that people put inside cover pots or baskets to make them look nicer because plastic is the least visually appealing option for a plant pot material. However, this means you have loads of options to mix up the style and decorate your home.


Ceramic pots are like the middle ground between terracotta and plastic. They’re not porous like terracotta, but they’re more sturdy and substantial than plastic pots. They also have great insulation to protect plants from fluctuations in temperature, which can be helpful during heatwaves or cold snaps.


Hopefully, this article has given you a good basis for choosing the right pot for each of your houseplants. This will help you to create a thriving indoor jungle where the conditions are right for each plant. Click here if you want to keep reading about houseplant care.

Updated on December 13, 2023

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