advantages and disadvantages – ISPUZZLE

For some plants, it doesn’t matter what kind of pot you put them in; they are happy to continue their activities without worrying about the type of “house” in which they are. However, for some, it is best to place them in a container that best suits their needs. This article explains the pros and cons of plastic pots over clay pots so you know which one to use and when.

Which is better, plastic or clay pots for plants? Plastic and clay pots have different properties that affect soil conditions for your plants. In general, plants that prefer moist soil are better suited to plastic pots; plants that prefer drier soil are better suited to clay pots.

To explain ourselves a little better, let’s talk about this type of pot, its general characteristics, why it works better for certain plants than others, and its general advantages and disadvantages.


Plastic or clay pots: why it matters

Before continuing, it is important to mention one thing;

Understanding the impact of pot choice is more important than the material itself. You can grow any plant in a plastic pot, and it’s the same with a clay pot.

As long as you understand the impact the potting material will have, you can adjust accordingly. Of course, you’ll have an easier time choosing pots that suit your plants’ needs, but there are no hard and fast rules.

plastic jars

When you walk into a nursery or garden center you will find that there is a large selection of plastic containers. Probably more than any other type of material.

Plastic or fiberglass pots are the most common containers for indoor and outdoor gardening. Due to the manufacturing process, they can be made inexpensively and come in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. That’s a big part of its appeal: it’s easy to find a plastic container that suits your style and taste.

When buying plastic or fiberglass pots, look for ones that are firm to the touch and slightly flexible. These resist time and seasons better than those that are thin and rigid.

So, for which plants should plastic pots be used? Plastic pots work best for plants that like to keep the soil moist, rather than drying out quickly. Plastic is not a porous material, so there is no air movement through the sides of the container. After watering the plant, the soil stays moist longer and more water remains in the root zone.

Plastic pots are also suitable for indoor gardeners who tend to water infrequently or have trouble remembering to water their plants.

plastic or clay pots for plantsA selection of plastic pots that I use for my plants.

Advantages of plastic pots

  • Keep the soil moist thanks to non-porous walls that minimize air movement in and out of the root zone. Beneficial for plants that need more water.
  • Unlimited variety of colors. and sizes to fit your decorating style. You can choose from a rainbow of colors and round, square or even rectangular shapes.
  • The plastic is strong and flexible.therefore they do not need to be replaced as often due to their durability.
  • They are very light. This is a huge advantage if you frequently move your plants, regularly move furniture, or move your plants to different areas of your home depending on the season and the amount of light coming through different windows.
  • Cheap. Injection molding is a common manufacturing process that can be done inexpensively, making the cost of plastic containers much lower than other materials.
  • Easy to add extra drain holes. If you buy a plastic pot that doesn’t have drainage holes in the bottom, it’s easy to add more if you have a power drill available.
  • Plastic is easy to sterilize. if you suffer from fungal diseases or want to make sure your pot is clean before using it on a new/different plant.
  • Many plastic containers are made from recycled materials, Help reduce your carbon footprint.

Disadvantages of plastic pots

  • Plastic can become brittle and crack over time. especially if the pots are exposed to cold temperatures (a bigger problem if they are outside, especially if you let them spend the winter outside). They can also become brittle if exposed to a significant amount of UV.
  • It’s easier to overwater your plants. With higher moisture retention, it’s easier to create soggy soil conditions that can be detrimental to your plants. Learn how to fix an overwatered plant here.
  • More likely to tip over. Lightweight containers can be useful if you move them around frequently, but the lightness of plastic containers also means they’re more likely to tip over even when filled with potting soil. This can be problematic if your plants are in an area where children or pets can knock them over, or if it’s windy outside.
  • When thrown away, they create plastic waste. unless they are carefully recycled.

clay pot

In fact, there are two different types of clay pots: unglazed pots, i.e. earthenware pots, and unglazed pottery. Both types have slightly different pros and cons, so it’s best to discuss them separately.


For some people, terracotta pots are the traditional go-to choice for their potted plants. They have been used for centuries to house indoor and outdoor potted plants. Natural clay is fired at low temperature in kilns; the clay minerals partially melt, resulting in a hardened but porous material.

The iron compounds in the clay give terracotta pots their earthy color. Most pots have the familiar muddy reddish color, but they come in a variety of colors ranging from red, orange, yellow, brown, white to light gray, depending on clay content and origin.

When is the best time to use terracotta pots? Because terra cotta is more porous than plastic, there is good air circulation through the side walls of the container, which helps the potting mix dry faster. This is good if you have a plant that prefers to keep its roots a little dry, so the potting mix dries out more between waterings.

terracotta pots for plants

Advantages of terracotta pots

  • Terracotta is a durable and natural material. Some people prefer this to plastic containers.
  • They have a traditional aesthetic. which fits many decorations. As they age, they take on a sort of patina, which adds to their charm.
  • Their weight means they are more stable. and firm so they won’t tip over as easily as plastic containers. This can be a huge advantage if you have pets or children who tend to knock over plants.
  • When used outside of heavy clay walls help absorb temperature changes, which can stress and damage a plant’s roots.

Disadvantages of terracotta pots

  • They break easily much easier than plastic. If you have terracotta pots outdoors, the freeze/thaw cycle can cause them to crack and break if the temperature drops too low. If they break, sharp edges are more dangerous than broken plastic.
  • Terracotta is much, much heavier than plastic pots. This can sometimes have its benefits, but weight gain can be problematic if you have large potted plants that you move around frequently.
  • Due to their porosity, they accumulate unsightly accumulations of salt from fertilizers on the outside. As the water evaporates through the walls, the salt also moves through them, leaving behind a whitish, powdery film. can be rubbed
  • A little more expensive than plastic containers, Although the cost is still lower than the delicacy, customize the jars.
  • More difficult to add additional drainage. If you buy containers that don’t have drainage holes in the bottom, although it’s rare to find ones without holes, it’s much more difficult to drill them. Using a masonry drill helps tremendously, it prevents the pot from cracking during the process.

glazed clay

Why choose between plastic or clay pots, when you can have the best of both worlds? Glazed clay pots are a kind of intermediate form between plastic pots and unglazed clay pots. Like terracotta pots, they are made by firing clay in kilns, but then painted or glazed with decorative colors and designs. This results in containers that have the characteristics of plastic and terracotta pots.

When to use glazed earthenware pots? Glazed terracotta pots combine many features of terracotta and plastic pots. Glazed clay is fantastic and keeps the soil wetter than terracotta pots.

glazed earthenware pots for plants

Advantages of glazed earthenware pots

  • Glazed earth is a good compromise between the two types of pots. They don’t retain as much moisture as plastic, but they don’t dry out as quickly as terra cotta.
  • Available in more designs and colors than terracotta pots. using the enamel technique.
  • Heavy containers are good if you have heavy plants, or place your potted plants in a place where they can fall.

Disadvantages of glazed earthenware pots

  • Heavy as terracotta pots, which makes moving a more important task.
  • Their price is higher than that of unglazed terracotta. The cost depends on the complexity of the glazing and the design.
  • It can crack and break like clay, especially at sub-zero temperatures.

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