Which is Better: Clay Pots or Plastic Pots?

Today I am going to talk to you about a topic that has made us all doubt at some time, and it is none other than how to choose the type of pot that best suits our needs. Because although until a few years ago we used to opt more for those made of clay or terracotta, because they are rustic and ornamental, things are now more complicated for us.

It turns out that in nurseries and garden stores, it is becoming easier to find plastic pots made especially for outdoors, which have a longer useful life than traditional plastic pots, since they are made of a material that better resists continuous exposure to the sun.

So, in the midst of this sea of ​​doubts, let’s see which is better: clay pots or plastic pots.

which is better clay pots or plastic pots
Clay pots vs Plastic pots

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Clay Pots vs Plastic Pots

In the gardening world you can find pots made of plastic, glazed or unglazed clay. Both materials, clay and plastic, have advantages but also disadvantages. Unglazed clay pots offer the roots of a plant much better protection against waterlogging and thus against rotten roots.

Excess water evaporates through the walls of the container and slightly increases the humidity in the immediate vicinity of the plant. This is beneficial for most plants. For this reason, with the same culture conditions, the soil in clay pots must be watered more often than in plastic pots and glazed clay pots.

Clay Pots

succulents in clay pots

Clay pots are designed for outdoor use. They have the right weight to withstand gusts of wind, and they can last us a long, long time with proper maintenance. In addition, we can customize them as we want. It should also be added that the root system of the plants will find it less difficult to grasp inside it, which will help the growth to be optimal.

That said, these types of pots are very suitable for:

  • Areas with gusts of wind
  • Low maintenance patios or decks
  • To integrate them into rustic gardens

Unfortunately, over time, an unsightly crust sometimes forms on the surface of clay pots due to the deposition of mineral salts from the soil and water. This crust can be removed by cleaning the clay pots thoroughly, preferably with a coarse brush and diluted vinegar.

Glazed clay pots are an alternative to unglazed clay pots. Glazed clay pots and ceramic pots are very decorative, do not evaporate water through their walls and offer the plants good stability. Unsightly salinity of the pots is not to be expected. However, you have to be careful, many glazed clay pots are intended as planters and do not have a drainage hole for excess water.

Read about how to drill a hole in a clay pot in this article.

Plastic Pots

succulents in plastic pots

Plastic pots sometimes become brittle over time and need to be replaced with new pots. From a certain size and age, you shouldn’t lift such plastic pots by the edge.

Plastic pots do not allow moisture loss through the walls, they are easier to clean and such pots are lighter than clay pots. However, they do not always offer enough stability for larger, laterally projecting plants.

Plastic pots are best used by those who are planning their patio filled with plants, and / or do not want to spend much money on these objects. If they are to be held in the home, we can choose the ones we like the most; but if they are going to be outside, the ideal is to acquire those that are for outdoors. The latter have a somewhat higher cost, but we can use them for a longer time since they will not break so easily.

Taking all this into account, plastic pots are recommended if:

  • You plan to have a collection of plants
  • Your budget is low
  • You like this type of pots better

Which one do you prefer: clay or plastic?