Plastic Pots vs Clay Pots - Which One Is Better For Plants?

Some plants are unconcerned with the container they're placed in; they're happy to go on about their business without regard for the type of "home" they're in. For others, however, it's preferable to put them in a container that is more suitable to their requirements. This article will compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of plastic vs clay pots.

Which type of pot is better for plants: plastic or clay?? Plastic pots and clay pots have distinct characteristics that influence the soil conditions for your plants. Plants like moist soil are more suited to plastic pots, whereas those who prefer dry soil are better off with clay pots.

Let's look at the distinctions between these pots and their characteristics and why they work better for some plants than others.

Plastic Pots Vs Clay Pots – Why It Matters

Before we proceed, it's necessary to make one point;

Knowing the influence of your pot selection is more essential than the material itself. You can grow any plant in a plastic container, and a clay container does not differ.

As long as you understand the influence that the material used in your pot will have, you may compensate for it. Yes, selecting pots appropriate for your plants' care requirements is more accessible, but there aren't any hard and fast regulations.

Plastic Pots

When you enter any nursery or gardening center, you'll notice many different types of plastic containers. More so than any other material, I believe.

The most popular indoor and outdoor container gardening containers are plastic or fiberglass pots. They may be produced in bulk at a low cost, and they come in a wide range of colors, sizes, and forms thanks to the production process. It's simple to locate a plastic container that fits your personality and taste because of this.

Purchase pots made of plastic or fiberglass that are both sturdy and flexible; these will last longer than those that are thin and rigid.

What plants would benefit from using plastic pots? Plastic pots are ideal for plants that want to keep their potting soil wet rather than drying it out quickly. Because plastic is non-porous, air circulation does not occur on the container's edges. The potting soil will stay wet for a more extended period after watering your plant, allowing more water to enter the root zone.

Plastic pots are excellent for indoor gardeners who do not water their plants as frequently as outdoor gardeners or cannot remember to water them.

Pros Of Plastic Pots

  • Keep potting soil more moist Because of the lack of air circulation in and out of the root zone, these containers don't get wet as quickly as their glass counterparts. Ideal for plants that require more moisture.
  • The endless variety of hues and sizes to match your décor. You may select various colors and shapes, including circular, square, or rectangular forms.
  • Plastic is strong and flexible, so they don't have to be replaced as frequently as other materials.
  • They are incredibly light. This is a significant benefit if you move your plants frequently, whether you're moving furniture regularly or shifting them to new locations in your house, based on the season and the amount of light entering through various windows.
  • Inexpensive. Injection molding is a well-known manufacturing technique that can be done cheaply, resulting in considerably reduced plastic container prices than other materials.
  • It's simple to add more drainage holes. If you buy a plastic pot with no drainage holes in the bottom, it's simple to insert if you have access to a drill.
  • It's simple to clean plastic. This might be the solution if you have problems with fungus or want to be sure your pot is clean before using it on a new/different plant.
  • ECO friendly. Recycled plastics are used to make many of the plastic containers available, reducing your environmental "footprint."

Cons Of Plastic Pots

  • Plastic pots may deteriorate with time, especially if kept at cold temperatures (particularly problematic if they are outside in the winter when temperatures can be below freezing). They might also become brittle as a result of excessive UV exposure.
  • It's simpler to overwater your plants. It's easier to create soggy soil conditions that can harm plants due to improved moisture retention. Here you'll find out how to revive a waterlogged plant.
  • Greater chance of falling over. Lightweight containers are less stable than their heavier counterparts, and it's not recommended that you move them frequently. On the other hand, lightweight plastic pots are more susceptible to toppling over even when packed with potting soil. If your plants are in a location where youngsters or pets may knock them over, or if the weather is windy outside.
  • Plastic waste. Most of them create plastic waste when they are eliminated unless recycled correctly.

Clay Pots

There are two different types of clay pots: unglazed, such as terracotta, and unglazed clay. Both kinds have minor variations in their advantages and disadvantages. Therefore it's worthwhile to discuss them separately.


Terracotta pots are a favorite choice for potted plants among some customers. They have been utilized to house indoor and outdoor container plants for hundreds of years. Natural clay is heated in kilns at a low temperature, with the minerals in the clay melting partially, resulting in a solid but porous material.

Clay contains iron compounds, which give terracotta pots their earthy color. The most popular terracotta color is a muddy red, but it may also be found in shades of red, orange, yellow, brown, white, and light gray based on the clay content and origin.

When should you grow plants in terracotta pots? Because terra cotta is more porous than plastic, there is more excellent air circulation through the container's walls, drying the potting soil faster. This is ideal if you have a plant that likes its roots to be somewhat dry, watering the potting soil less often.

Pros Of Terracotta Pots

  • Terracotta is a long-lasting, eco-friendly material. Some people prefer terra cotta vessels to plastic containers.
  • They have a classic appearance that goes with almost any décor. They acquire a patina of sorts as they get older, giving them even greater appeal.
  • They're also heavier, which makes them more secure and steadfast. As a result, they don't fall over as readily as plastic pots. This might be beneficial if you have dogs or children who like tipping plants over.
  • However, it acts as a thermal buffer outside the heavy clay walls, preventing temperature fluctuations from stressing and damaging a plant's roots.

Cons Of Terracotta Pots

  • Ceramic tiles are fragile and more easily break than plastic. They may crack and break if the temperatures drop suddenly during the winter freeze/thaw cycle. The sharp points are more dangerous than broken plastic when they break.
  • Pots made of terra cotta are more substantial than those made of plastic. This might have its benefits at times, but the additional weight may be a nuisance if you have big potted plants that you shift about frequently.
  • They will get unsightly salt buildup on the outside due to their porousness. As the water evaporates through the walls, the salt travels with it, leaving behind a white, powdery coating. It may be removed by handwashing.
  • Although clay pots are more expensive than plastic ones, they are still less costly than ornate, custom-made planters.
  • It is more difficult to add extra drainage. If you buy pots that do not have holes in the bottom, they are considerably more challenging to drill. Using a brick bit rather than a regular one makes drilling easier, preventing the container from shattering.

Glazed Clay

Choose plastic vs. clay pots when you may have it all with the best of both worlds. Glazed clay pots are a compromise between unglazed clay and plastic pots. They're produced in the same way as terracotta vessels, but instead of being fired in kilns, they are painted or glazed in creative colors and patterns. As a result, their characteristics are those of both plastic and terracotta pots.

When should you use glazed clay pots? Glazed clay pots have many of the characteristics of terracotta and plastic pots. Glazed clay is more attractive than terracotta and keeps the soil considerably wetter.

Pros Of Glazed Clay Pots

  • Glazed clay is a good compromise between the two types of pots. They don't retain as much moisture as plastic but don't take as long to dry up as terracotta.
  • Due to the glazing method, terra cotta planters in many more designs and hues are available than those made of clay.
  • Top-heavy plants, or potted plants where they might be damaged, benefit from heavy containers.

Cons Of Glazed Clay Pots

  • Although these pots are sturdy, they are heavy and difficult to move because of their weight. They're made from terra cotta or ceramic bricks.
  • They cost more than unglazed terracotta. The price varies depending on the complexity of the glazing and design.
  • It's suitable for indoor and outdoor use, yet it may crack and break like terracotta if frozen temperatures are applied.

Wrapping up

To summarize, each type of pot has advantages and disadvantages. It all depends on your client's specific requirements and preferences for which one is best for them. You may discover the ideal pot for your clients if you have a basic understanding.

If you want to know more about flower planters or flower pots, please get in touch with our team of experts in Brice Gardening. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, we would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have!

Paul - Maytown

Hi, I'm Paul from Brice Gardening. I have been working in gardening products industry for over 10 years. Feel free to contact us if you want to wholesale planter pots & misters.

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