- The 10 Best Pots For Indoor Plants
- 1. The Best Choice For Most Plants
- 2. A Variety Of Sizes For All Your Succulents
- 3. The Best Pot For Jade Plants & Larger Succulents
- 4. The Best For Small Succulents
- 5. The Best Pot For Large Hanging Plants
- 6. The Best Pots For Small Hanging Plants
- 7. The Best Pot For Large Indoor Plants
- 8. The All-Around Best Plastic Pots
- 9. The Best Self-Watering Pot
- 10. The Best Budget Pots For Indoor Plants
- Growing Together: What’s the best pot (for houseplants)?
- Advantages of clay pots
- Other potting tips
- Skip the drainage material inside pots
- Potted Planting Mediums: Choosing Containers And Composts For Houseplants
- Pots for Houseplants
- Planting Mediums and Composts for Houseplants
- Shallow Roots in Indoor Plants
- Water Needs
- Protecting Shallow Roots
- Container Size
- What plants are suited for a shallow pot?
- Planting Depth Revealed – You Can Successfully Grow Herbs and Vegetables in a 4″ Pot
- I’m Rooting for You
- Growing on the Wide Side
- Related posts: What Can You Grow in a 6″ Pot?, What Can You Grow in an 8″ Pot? What Can You Grow in a 12″ Pot?
The 10 Best Pots For Indoor Plants
While having a pot that matches your decor is important, a well-designed pot will also save you a lot of hassle — and the best pots for indoor plants can even help keep those ferns, succulents, and other plants alive and healthy longer.
What should you look for? Choose pots with drainage holes. These allow excess water to run through and promotes better air circulation. This also means you’ll want a tray under it. While you can make pots without drainage work, it requires very careful watering not to drown your plant, which is why all these top picks have them (even the hanging planters).
What material should you choose? Ceramic and plastic are the two best options, and both have their pros and cons. Ceramic pots are porous which means your plants are less likely to experience root rot from overwatering. It also means you’ll have to water more often. Plastic pots are lighter, less likely to break, and easier to clean. Plants in plastic will dry more slowly which is good for those who forget to water, but not so great for those with the tendency to water too often.
How large should it be? According to plant store The Sill, if your current pot is 10 inches or smaller, choose a pot that is an inch or two bigger than your current one (the plastic grow container your plant comes in from the store counts). If your pot is more than 10 inches, go up 2 to 4 inches.
Choosing the right pot for your indoor plants will save you a lot of work in the long run. Below, the best highly rated options on Amazon.
1. The Best Choice For Most Plants
Reviewers loved these ceramic pots for the “sleek, modern finish” and found them “very sturdy and well-made.” Plus, the 6.1-inch diameter makes it a good choice for everything from pothos to flowers to herbs.
2. A Variety Of Sizes For All Your Succulents
This affordable set of ceramic planter pots offers three different sizes: 6 inches, 5 inches, and 3.8 inches. Each pot has a small hole in the bottom and sits on a bamboo dish. The shallow bowls are perfect for succulents or any other plants with short roots. Plus, their overall aesthetic is simple enough to blend in an array of decor styles.
3. The Best Pot For Jade Plants & Larger Succulents
Terra-cotta is one of the best choices when your plant needs plenty of room to breath and have dry soil between waterings. And since it’s heavier than plastic, it’s also a good choice for top-heavy jade plants that have a tendency to tip over.
4. The Best For Small Succulents
Another great set of ceramic containers, these bite-size shallow pots with drainage holes will keep your succulents happy. Plus, at less than $5 for each set of pot and bamboo tray, your wallet won’t mind either.
5. The Best Pot For Large Hanging Plants
With a drainage hole and a rubber plug you can remove, this well-considered design cares for your plants while sprucing up your home. At 8 inches wide, it’s perfect for Boston ferns, spider plants, pothos, and more.
6. The Best Pots For Small Hanging Plants
This colorful hanging pot option will complement the greens of succulents, cacti, or any other small hanging plants you have. With a drainage hole and a rubber stopper to prevent drips, it’ll also care for them.
7. The Best Pot For Large Indoor Plants
This 10-inch fiberglass resin plant pot is a best-seller on Amazon for good reason. With a versatile look, four colors to choose from, a large drainage hole, and a rubber plug, one reviewer says: “I liked the pot so much, I ordered another, and then I ordered a third.” (Plant stand not included.)
8. The All-Around Best Plastic Pots
You might mistake these matte white plastic pots for ceramic. Well-sized for herbs, flowers, and ferns, each pot costs less than $4 each and still offer drainage and a stopper.
9. The Best Self-Watering Pot
With a large reservoir and carefully considered aeration slats to prevent mold and root rot, this self-watering plastic pot is a great choice for those who travel frequently or just forget to water from time to time. Available in five colors and four sizes, there’s an option for almost any houseplant. “This is by far the best I’ve found,” says one customer. “I’m using it for a cherry tomato plant that was in poor condition when I transplanted it but is really thriving in this new pot.”
10. The Best Budget Pots For Indoor Plants
These sturdy plastic planters come with well-designed drainage at the bottom and free replacement by the seller if they break in the first year. At barely more than $2 for each set of pots and trays, it’s an affordable choice that will look great in a variety of rooms.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle’s editorial and sales departments.
Growing Together: What’s the best pot (for houseplants)?
Does it really matter what containers we use for our houseplants? A quick glance at Pinterest shows plants growing in everything from old shoes to polished brass. It might seem like a free-for-all, but the type of pot really can make a difference in how well plants grow. A houseplant’s container, which we can simply call its pot, is more than just a receptacle to hold soil. The container influences the health of the root system, which in turn affects the entire plant.
Pots can be divided into two broad types: those that breathe through their sides and those that don’t. Unglazed terra-cotta clay pots are the traditional breathable flowerpot, while plastic, glazed, ceramic and other materials don’t allow air and moisture to pass through. To simplify, it’s clay pots versus everything else.
Advantages of clay pots
- The porosity of clay allows air and moisture to penetrate the pot’s sides, and the fine feeder roots at the edge of the plant’s soil ball are able to utilize the extra oxygen, creating a healthy soil environment.
- Air movement through clay stimulates root development.
- Clay pots act like a wick to remove excess moisture from the soil, reducing the threat of over watering, which is a leading cause of houseplant decline. Houseplant owners who tend to over water usually find greater success with clay pots.
- Plants that require well-drained soil, such as cactuses and succulents, may be easier to grow in clay pots.
- Clay tends to pull soluble salts out of the soil, reducing damaging salt accumulation. The white residue that forms outside clay pots can be removed with a scrub brush and neutralized with a mixture of half water, half vinegar.
Other potting tips
- No matter the pot type, drainage holes are essential for allowing excess water to quickly exit the soil.
- Instead of growing plants in decorative pots, they can be potted into clay pots and slipped inside the decorative container. Check immediately after watering to be sure drainage doesn’t accumulate unseen in the outer container.
- Setting pots in visible saucers is the best way to detect drainage that can quickly damage plants if not discarded.
- It’s difficult to discard excess water from pots that have built-in saucers. Separate saucers are better.
- Houseplants can be successfully grown in most containers, but non-clay types require monitoring more closely, as clay pots are more forgiving.
Skip the drainage material inside pots
Adding rocks, pebbles, or broken pot shards inside the bottom of pots has a long history, but it’s best left out.
This from Washington State University: “Nearly 100 years ago, soil scientists demonstrated that water does not move easily from layers of finer textured materials to layers of coarser textured. Since then, similar studies have produced the same results. Therefore, the coarser the underlying material, the more difficult it is for water to move across the interface.
“Gravitational water will not move from a fine soil texture into a coarser material until the finer soil is saturated. Since the goal for using coarse material in the bottoms of containers is to keep soil from getting water logged, it is ironic that adding this material will induce the very state it is intended to prevent.”
For best drainage, just fill the pot top-to-bottom with quality potting mix.
Don Kinzler, a lifelong gardener, worked as an NDSU Extension horticulturist and owned Kinzler’s Greenhouse in Fargo. Readers can reach him at [email protected]
Potted Planting Mediums: Choosing Containers And Composts For Houseplants
Most of the time, when you purchase a plant from the store, it’s planted in compost in a plastic pot. The nutrients in the compost are enough to sustain the plant until it’s purchased, perhaps several months. However, that’s it. The plastic pot, of course, is just unattractive. You will, I’m sure, want to disguise it by placing it inside another larger pot, or by repotting the entire plant.
You’ll also have to consider different compost so the plant lives longer than half a year. For this reason, it helps to know how to choose containers for houseplants and potted planting mediums that will improve their overall health.
Pots for Houseplants
In choosing containers for potted environments, it helps to know that planters or pots range in many sizes but there are four sizes that are most used. For most houseplants, sufficient pot sizes are 6 cm, 8 cm, 13 cm and 18 cm. Of course, for large trees or floor-standing plants, you may need to go as high as 25 cm to accommodate them. There are usually saucers available in matching sizes for the pots to stand in and stores don’t usually charge for them.
A traditional container for plants is the clay pot. These are firm, sturdy pots that match most plants and decor. They are porous so they are able to let excess moisture evaporate through the sides. Toxic salts can escape in the same way. If you have plants that require more moisture, though, plastic might be best. In this case, you need to be sure not to over water since it cannot evaporate out of plastic.
For the most part, anything that has sides and a base can become a planter or ornamental container. Old teapots, jars and thrift store finds are perfect. Old salad bowls, storage tins, buckets – they all work! Even wooden boxes or small crates can help supply interest to your plant display. Plastic containers and terracotta pots and even baskets can be painted. Anything made of metal is best used to hold plastic pots instead of for planting, but remember that metal rusts. Anything not waterproof can be used to hold pots as well, but make sure to line them with plastic so they don’t get soaked.
If you plant directly into pots that are not designed for this, you need to be careful. These containers may not provide the right kind of drainage. The base of the container has to be lined with a layer of clay pellets so they can help absorb moisture and give a good source of natural drainage. Also, if you mix charcoal with potting medium, the potting medium will remain sweeter.
Planting Mediums and Composts for Houseplants
In addition to replacing pots for houseplants, changing potted planting mediums, like compost, is necessary. Let’s take a look at choosing composts for houseplants.
A more popular planting medium includes the peat-free compost. This is because they don’t continue the destruction of the natural habitat of a lot of animals and plants. Their main ingredient is coir, which is found in the husk of a coconut and it’s a material used a lot in the past for making ropes and matting.
Whether you are usually a devoted peat- or soil-based compost user, it’s important that you experiment a little with the coir-based type. It has a lot of the same qualities as peat like the moisture retention abilities and aeration. Coir-based composts are readily available too. After you use it in pots inside, you don’t have to throw it away. You can use it outside as a mulch around outdoor plants.
The compost is what anchors the plants and provides them with moisture, food and air for the roots. You cannot use garden soil for indoor plants because the quality is unreliable. It drains badly and contains weed seeds, bugs and even diseases. Only the special indoor composts should be used with your houseplants, and there are two:
- The first are the soil-based composts. They are made from partially sterilized loam, peat and sand and have added fertilizers. These are suitable for most houseplants. They are heavier than other types of composts which is helpful for the added stability of larger plants. Soil-based composts are also unlikely to dry out fast or as completely as other types of composts, and they are richer in plant foods than other types.
- The other types of compost are the peat-based composts (and peat-substitutes). These are more uniform in quality than soil-based composts. However, they do dry out more easily and once they dry out, they are hard to remoisten and tend to just float. They are lighter in the bag which makes for easier shopping, but they are poorer in nutrients, which makes for harder gardening.
It’s your choice which of these potted planting mediums to use, and either one will work. Just remember what works best for your lifestyle and plant choices. Sometimes gardening is more like an experiment, especially indoors, but it’s worthwhile. Learning how to choose containers for houseplants and using appropriate composts for houseplants will ensure their good health.
Shallow Roots in Indoor Plants
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The roots of indoor plants are vital to their health, and yet their condition and requirements are often neglected because we can’t see them. Different plants prefer to grow their roots at different soil depths. The depth which roots grow is also influenced by watering habits. Brief waterings promote shallow roots.
Plants with naturally shallow root systems like Aloe and Jade are low maintenance. These succulents, and others with shallow root systems, don’t like soil that stays wet. They thrive because water evaporates quickly from the first 2 inches of soil. Even tall varieties like corn can have very shallow root systems.
Plants growing deep roots like them to stay moist. When plants that like moisture are only given small amounts of water they grow their roots near the soil’s surface and suffer when that soil dries out. Signs of distress are wilting and dull leaf appearance.
When you water plants with shallow roots it is important not to pour water in only one spot. Cover the entire surface with a gentle spray of water. Water that is concentrated in one spot can rot shallow roots and cause those in other areas of the pot to dry out and die.
Protecting Shallow Roots
Add mulch to moisture-loving plants that have developed shallow roots. Cedar, pine and cypress are good, but even pebbles will help the soil stay damp. The soil should not be disturbed by further cultivation or by installing decorative stakes and signs.
Plants with naturally shallow root systems like smaller pots with good drainage. They need frequent watering and soil that dries quickly.
Encourage plants that like moisture to grow deep roots by placing them in deep pots with rich soil. Drainage is important. Even plants that like moisture will rot quickly if their roots are submerged in water for long.
Epiphytes are plants that do not grow roots in soil, but attach them to other plants or man-made objects. Orchids are an epiphyte commonly grown as a houseplant. They grow aerial roots above the bark and charcoal chips used in their pots instead of soil.
What plants are suited for a shallow pot?
Wider than tall is my favorite type if pot for potting plants. Plant roots in the garden are 4 to 6″ deep. 95 percent of all plant roots are within this shallow zone. Pots that are wider than tall also inhibit over watering. Too much soil and not enough roots to suck up the water, and no drain hole? Root rot for sure.
For more personalized answers please send a picture, tell us what plant you are potting, where this plant lives (indoors, out of doors), what soil you are using. It is critical to use JUST sterilized potting soil for all potted plants. All.
The best plants for shallower pots are succulents and cactus. These plants can not stand too much water and their roots are very shallow. Regardless, most plants will love a wider than deep pot as long as you are using potting soil. Bagged and sterilized potting MEDIUM. Never use the garden soil. Don’t even try to make your own soil. Unless you are able to COOK that soil and all of the non soil amendments that potting soil contains it is worth the life of your plants in pots.
What type of plant are you imagining? Let us know what you would like to plant in that pot, send us a picture of your pot. Be sure you use potting soil/medium to re pot whatever plant you purchase. Don’t try to grow from seed in a big pot. Purchase a beautiful plant from the store and make sure you ask what and when it was last fertilized and what light source the plant acclimated to. Indoors under artificial lighting or out of door in the sun already acclimated?
All plants have different needs. Some love to always have a bit of moisture, most hate wet roots. All have to have a tiny bit of balanced fertilizer.
Planting Depth Revealed – You Can Successfully Grow Herbs and Vegetables in a 4″ Pot
Container vegetable gardening can be rewarding and challenging. If you want to be successful and get good harvests you need to take watering requirements and light exposure into account. The other big thing you need to know is planting depth – how much soil does each crop needs to succeed. No more guessing with these guidelines!
This container is 4 inches deep and 12 inches wide
There are certain guidelines to follow when planting in a 4 inch deep container. Whether you are using raised beds, standard pots, or found items, each crop needs a certain amount of soil to give you a good harvest. Soil is the key to your healthy plants. As long as the soil is well aerated, roots will colonize the entire container. So make sure you have plenty of organic matter in your soil to help the process along.
I’m Rooting for You
It might seem simple but, you need to think about the root system of the crop you want to grow. Not all plants will succeed in a 4 inch pot. Only certain types of carrots will work and tomatoes will not work at all!
How do you know what a plant’s root system will become? If you’ve grown it in a conventional garden then you probably have a good idea. You are looking for plants that have a shallow root system and ones that spread instead of grow with a taproot. The Sustainable Farmer is providing a link to Root Development of Vegetable Crops by Weaver and Bruner. This was originally published in 1927 and has fantastic information. Otherwise -Google root depth and look to see that the universities are saying.
Growing on the Wide Side
Plant roots like to be able to spread out. They don’t appreciate being crowded. If you have ever purchased a root bound plant in a 4 inch pot, you know what I’m talking about. There is only so much growing a plant will do in one of those 4×4 nursery pots. Your plants will benefit from some container width while growing.
I recently planted a salad bowl container that is 4 inches deep and 12 inches wide. It will provide the depth and width I need to grow one crop of mustard greens, leaf lettuce and spinach.
Be adventurous with your gardening style this year, push the boundaries! Plant something in a 4 inch container. Here are our suggestions for growing herbs and container vegetable gardening in 4 inch pots -Happy Growing!
Related posts: What Can You Grow in a 6″ Pot?, What Can You Grow in an 8″ Pot? What Can You Grow in a 12″ Pot?
Mustard, Salad Greens, Radish, Garlic, Mint, Marjoram, Thyme, Asian Greens.
Shared with: Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways