Clay or Plastic: Selecting Pots for Indoor Plants

Gardeners and orchard keepers usually fall into two camps on the container and pot debate: some prefer clay and terracotta pots, while others prefer plastic containers. While a few recommend using plastic pots for ease of use and also as a great way to recycle plastic buckets and containers, most experts are overwhelmingly pro-clay and recommend terra cotta pots above all else. Here is why:


Terra cotta is especially good where the soil has poor moisture control, because it allows water vapor to seep through the porous container walls. Clay containers also cool roots as water evaporates, allowing fresh air to circulate more freely in the root zone. This in turn helps keep down CO2 levels as O2 takes its place. CO2 impedes root function while O2 is a necessity for healthy roots and robust plants.


Plants in clay containers also need more frequent irrigation, which automatically ensures that plenty of air is circulates in the root mass. Plants grown in a container require more frequent watering, which will also improve plant growth and maintain plant health.

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Overall, while commercial growers use plastic because it’s cheaper, lighter, and more durable, or because there is a pressing need to recycle used plastic containers and buckets, most expert gardeners still recommend the use of clay and terra cotta pots if possible.