Menu Close

Plastic pot vs. terracotta pot | Which one is better for your houseplant?

There are many types of plant pots, probably the most common ones are made out of plastic and terracotta, but you can find also concrete, metal, glass and other types of pots.

For years, when I would buy a plant, I never even considered terracotta pots to be honest. When it was time to repot the plant I would just buy a plastic pot. But, once I “discovered” the world of terracotta pots, there was no going back to only plastic pots!

In this article I want to address the benefits of both plastic and terracotta pots (and other materials that are similar to each of them) and show you benefits of both worlds.

When should you choose a plastic vs a terracotta pot and vice versa?

Terracotta pots (and other porous material pots, like concrete pots) – pros & cons

pros:

  • porous
  • breathable
  • faster water evaporation
  • smaller chance of root rot

Terracotta pots are breathable and can contribute to better air flowing. These are perfect for plants that don’t require frequent watering and constantly moist soil, like cacti, succulents, ZZ plants and Sansevierias.

Because of the brethability, the water will evaporate more quickly from a terracotta (or other porous material) pot. This will prevent that your plant sits in water for too long (which can ultimately cause root rot).

terracotta pots

cons:

  • faster water evaporation
  • frequent watering
  • heavier
calathea ornata - prayer plant

As it can be considered a positive, we need to cover all prospectives of this terracotta feature. Faster water evaporation can be considered a negative also, why? Well, not all plants are alike, and while some prefer semi dry soil, there are plants that won’t stand that.

Additional to this, whatever type of plant you have, if you are not on top of frequently checking the soil to see if your plant needs watering, your plant will wait for days in extra dry soil.

Also, if you have plants in a teeny-tiny terracotta pot, the soil will dry out probably every day or two, so you’ll need to pay attention to that.

So, how much time you have to dedicate to your plants will also be a factor when choosing the right pot for your plant.

Terracotta pots are way heavier than plastic pots, and the bigger they are the heavier they’ll be. From a point of stability, this can be considered as a pro, but think about if you want to place it on a wall shelf that can’t carry so much weight.

Plastic pots (and other non-porous pots like glass and metal pots) – pros & cons

pros:

  • great nursery pots for propagating
  • retains moisture for longer

Why should you propagate in plastic pots? Plastic pots are great nursery pots because they retain moisture for a longer period of time. When you propagate your plants from cuttings, you’ll need to keep the soil moist for 4-6 week, or until your cutting starts to develop roots.

If you place your cuttings in a terracotta pot you won’t error, but you’ll need to water it way more frequently, so just keep that in mind. Because of that, I find it easier and less tasking to simply use a plastic pot for this.

From another point of view, some plants like moist soil (not soggy over watered soil!!) and I find it much easier to have those plants in plastic rather than terracotta pots (this includes Maranta and Calathea plants, for example).

cons:

  • increased chance of root rot
  • slower water evaporation – can lead to over watering

While plastic pots are great for when you need to keep the soil moist, there is a greater chance of root rot if your plant is in a plastic pot and not in a terracotta pot (or some other porous material pot).

Personally, I like to have the majority of my bigger plants in terracotta pots precisely because of this reason.

Over watering is one of the most common plant killers because it can introduce fungus, pests and root rot.

___________________________________________________________

In conclusion, there are a few factors you need to consider before choosing the right pot for your plant. You need to think about what the specific plant you want to repot likes, how big is the pot in which you’ll repot your plant and ultimately, how much time you want to spend watering it.

What are your favourite type of pots? Let me know! 🙂