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Choosing the Best Plant Pots for Your Plant

By Louise Burr

Here's What You Need to Know About Choosing the Right Plant Pot: The Good, The Bad and The Stinky...

Choosing the best plant pots is one of the most important decisions you will make throughout your plant-life journey.

You need to consider a range of factors including:

- the variety and size of the plant

- whether they're outdoor or indoor plants

- the needs of the plants and the care required

- style preferences and desired functionality.

There is no one-size fits all pot size or type, and most pots on the market right now come with different advantages and disadvantages.

Decorative Plant Pot with Drip Tray

White plant flower pot drip tray saucer ceramic plant pot planter

(Source: amazon.com.au)

Decorative pots are the neat freaks of the plant world and tend to be suited to indoor plants that are small, low maintenance, or quite young and still growing. They also work well for outdoor plants. When used as a single pot, you remove your plant from its nursery pot and pot it directly into the decorative planter.

When used indoors or on balconies and terraces, they usually require a drainage saucer (also called a 'drip tray'), which allows you to properly water your plants with minimal mess.

Pros & Cons of Using a Decorative Pot

Advantages:

Using a single decorative pot means you’re not trying to match the sizes of an internal and external pot (like the double potting option, below) so the appearance of your plant is pretty tidy.

It can be a relatively cheap option, especially if you use a terracotta planter or a plastic pot. If you use plastic or fibreglass pots, it may be lightweight too - which is perfect if you’re the type of plant parent that prefers to move your pot for watering sessions somewhere where the drips won’t leave a mess. 

Disadvantages:

Many decorative pots do not have any drainage holes, yet drainage is essential to avoid drowning plant roots. If you can't see water pouring out the bottom of your pot, how do you know every root has had a drink? 

If there is a drainage hole, it's best to use a drip tray underneath, although these don’t hold much water. As it can be very difficult to judge exactly how much water your plant’s roots and the soil will drink, the tray doesn't provide much of a buffer and you can be left with an overflowing mess.

On the other hand, trying to avoid mess may mean you underwater, which results in dehydrated and droopy plants. Your plants will require more of your attention, more regularly, as you will need to monitor the soil moisture and water intake. 

As a final disadvantage, decorative pots can become quite heavy for larger plants. This means that, when used indoors, you may not be able to carry them elsewhere for watering, or moving them around so you can clean the floor, chase sunlight or experiment with different positions around your home or garden.

Double potting

Nursery plant pot decorative planter double pot plant

(Source: laidbackgardener.blog)

This is the most popular potting technique for indoor plants. Plants are kept in a lightweight nursery pot that it put inside a larger decorative pot. They’re Instagram-ready in a snap and your plants are easy to change around when the mood strikes.

Pros & Cons of Double Potting

Advantages:

The primary advantage is watering ease, as the decorative pot (provided it has no drainage holes) is able to catch the water. This means you can ensure you really soak all the plant roots and avoid underwatering. If the decorative pot does have drainage holes, a drip tray will be needed to provide a buffer against leaky puddles.

The most popular method for watering double potted plants is to remove the plant from the decorative pot and put it in a sink, bathroom or on the lawn. This has the benefit of reducing inconvenient leaky messes on your floors or stagnant water collecting inside decorative pots that don't have any drainage.

Disadvantages:

Some common disadvantages with the double potting method are over-watering and physical exertion.

If you choose to leave the plant within the decorative pot for watering, you will need to monitor and manage the excess water. If there is too much excess water and inadequate drainage, you risk of over-watering, root rot and droopy plants. Even if drainage is sufficient, if your decorative pot doesn't have drainage holes the water will pool in its base. Over time, that stagnant water can become a foul, smelly breeding ground for algae and plant pests.

Alternatively, if you move your plants elsewhere for watering, this can take a lot of time! This is especially the case when you add in the wait time for the plants to finish draining do you don't end up drippy slip hazards on your floors.

Moving plants around is not a convenient option when you have a lot of plants, or large plants, which can be time-consuming and heavy. These limitation can be a reason why plant parents decide to own less plants and smaller plants than they would like.

Self-watering pots

Mr Kitly self-watering plant pot big planter plastic pot

(Source: mrkitly.com.au)

These have a reservoir in the base and rely on your plant’s roots wicking up water. Water is meant to be poured directly to the reservoir, which means your plant can take care of itself. If you believe the hype, these pots help you enter the realm of ‘set and forget’ plant care!

Pros & Cons of Self-Watering Pots

Advantages:

This method of infrequent watering appears to be low-maintenance. You shouldn’t need to worry about routinely watering your plant and you may never have to worry about leaky messes on your floors.

Further, as their false bottom usually provides great drainage, this helps prevent root rot (the main reason why plants die) much more than relying on the sole drainage hole found in most decorative pots. If you’ve had to deal with the putrid, swampy mess caused by a clogged drainage hole, you’ll understand the importance of this.

Disadvantages:

They are usually made of cheap plastic, which isn’t an attractive aesthetic. Also, many plants such as those with robust root structures and edibles (especially herbs and some vegetables) simply need more water than what is provided via wicking.

Perhaps even more problematic is the stagnant water in the reservoir, which can attract pests and algae, and is prone to forming unattractive calcium stains on the external sides of the pot.

Finally, it can be impossible to see when the water reservoir is empty, so your plant may be dying from dehydration without you even noticing.

I've written a separate blog about self-watering plant pots here, which has more information.

PerkyPod - innovative self-draining pot

The only way to solve all the disadvantages of the above methods is by using a planter pot like PerkyPod. Its innovative innovative internal drainage and water catchment system allows you to water your plants really well without needing to move them. There's no stress about where the overflowing water is going. Drenching plants is the most effective way to create healthy plants that remain perky for extended periods between watering sessions.

But what makes PerkyPod different from self-watering pots?

PerkyPod uses a patent-pending filter and funnel system that diverts around excess water into a water catchment drawer, which can be removed and tipped out at any time that suits you. You can recycle the water for another purpose (such as watering other plants), or keep it there for the next watering session. 

PerkyPod is perfect for time-poor plant parents - no more dealing with messes or waiting around, while also avoiding any back-breaking lifting. Not only will plant chores become quick and easy, but you will be able to fill your home and garden with more perky plants for less effort. Now you can own larger plants (and more of them!) because you don’t need to move them for watering.

As an added bonus? If you include PerkyPod's optional castor wheels, you’ll also be able to move your plants around to suit light conditions, to vacuum or mop… or even just your mood. Brilliant!

As you embark on your journey to find the perfect pot pal for your plants, remember that each potting method has its own personality quirks. But, if you'd like to spend more of your time admiring your home garden and less time worrying about it, try a PerkyPod pot instead!