Need a pot to plant in?
Containers for plants come in all sizes and made of a variety of materials. Each has its own advantages.
Indoor containers vs outdoor containers – what’s the difference?
Traditionally, indoor containers don’t have drainage holes; outdoor containers do.
Also, containers meant for houseplants could be made of more fragile (or flimsy) materials, such as paper mache.
But the practical reality is that you should use study containers with drainage holes for all your plants, whether they will live inside with you, outside on patios and decks, or possibly both, depending on the season.
Because water that is trapped in the bottom of a pot will lead to root rot, which is not only a smelly mess, it will probably kill your plant.
And, since it is just about impossible to guess the exact right amount of water that a plant will absorb, my recommendation is that you use containers with drainage holes and put saucers under them (to avoid water on the furniture, the floor, etc.) It’s easy to empty the saucers. If the plant is too heavy to heave it off the saucer, what I’ve found that works is sucking up all that extra water with a turkey baster (really cheap in dollar stores).
Containers for plants – clay and ceramic
This includes terra cotta pots (the red clay ones) and ceramic glazed pots. The big advantage is color; the disadvantage is they get heavy – possibly too heavy to lift and move around or for a balcony (once filled with soil).
I love terra cotta pots for their casual, cottage look, and they are also widely available in plenty of sizes, either the traditional round or square, with matching saucers.
Sadly, they break. They can’t stay outside through winter with soil in them (if there is frost or snow where you live) because they will shatter as the freezing soil in them expands.
Containers for plants – stone and concrete
They can be dramatic, and they generally hold up to cold winters.
But stone or concrete or tufa containers are also heavy and hard to move (which might be an advantage if your fear is that your containers could be stolen, say from the front of your home if it is near the street).
Containers for plants – wood
You will see a lot of variety in wood containers. Traditional window boxes were most often made of wood, and I think they continue to have more charm, on a period home, than using plastic window boxes.
There are also square wood planters, wood half-barrels, and pressure-treated wood works well for the sides of raised beds.
Wood has a warm, natural look. But, with the exception of pressure-treated wood, it will rot. Half barrels that don’t have a plastic liner will only last a few years.