Terra Cotta Pots

Can't do Without Terra Cotta Pots with Sensible Gardening

Of all the “things” we can put plants in, by far my favorite is terra cotta clay pots. I don’t mean the plastic look a-likes either, I mean the real deal. Not always the most practical I’ll admit, but authentic and beautiful in any garden design. I can’t think of a plant that doesn’t look good in a classic pot made of terra cotta clay.

Can't do Without Terra Cotta Pots with Sensible Gardening

A terra cotta flower pot can become very heavy once filled with soil, especially the larger ones. Best to find a home for the big guys and leave them there. If you have to move them due to weather conditions, be sure to use a proper dolly to save your self and possibly the pot itself. If not planting large specimens or root intensive plants, you can always fill the lower portion of the pot with styrofoam chips or something similar then top up with soil for planting. Also if you must move them, let them dry out first to reduce the total weight.

Terra Cotta Pots with Sensible Gardening

Clay flower pots will also dry out much more quickly than most other types of containers. For this reason you might want to plant them with drought resistant plants such as herbs, chrysanthemums, petunias or geraniums. The smaller pots are particularly difficult to keep moist, as are the wall scones. To help with this problem you can insert a plastic liner into the terra cotta pot, or paint the inside with a sealer. When you do water be sure to water thoroughly until water is running out the bottom holes. It also helps to soak your pots in water before filling with soil and planting.

Terra Cotta Pots with Sensible Gardening

Not all terra cotta pottery is frost proof and if you garden in a cold climate you will want to protect your pottery pots in the winter or they might crack. Smaller pots should be brought into the garage, preferably with the soil removed. You can buy “frost free” terra cotta containers for a slightly higher price. Clay pottery will also chip or break easily if dropped or hit.

Your terra cotta pots will actually improve with age. The color will darken giving them more character. You can speed this process along by laying your pots on their side in soil for a a few months, occasionally turning and damping them. If you mange to find some already worn pots, wash them well and rinse with a 10% bleach solution before you reuse them.

Terra Cotta Pots with Sensible Gardening

These pots also look fabulous with moss growing on them. You can speed this process along if you wish by doing the following:

Make Your Own Moss:

  • Use equal parts of moss and buttermilk and blend in your blender
  • Paint the moss solution on your unglazed terra cotta pot
  • Place pot in a cool, shady place and mist twice a day with water
  • Within about a month  you should see moss growing on the pot

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The selection of styles is enormous, there is every shape and size imaginable as well as a wide range of prices. Terra cotta pots are easily found at most nurseries and garden centers. They look good standing alone or set in groupings of different sizes and shapes. (Amazon disclosure: Some of these links go to my affiliate account at )

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Can't do Without Terra Cotta Pots with Sensible Gardening

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9 thoughts on “Terra Cotta Pots

  1. I love, love, love terra cotta pots. I have quite a few that I use indoors all year round, plus the collection of various shaped and sized outdoor containers. Yes, they’re heavy when one moves house and home as I did in the fall, and will be doing again. But their look can’t be matched.

  2. Terra cotta pots are not the most practical choice, especially here in semi-arid Calgary, but I love them. I’ve tried other types of containers, but I always go back to terra cotta!

  3. I have some terra cotta pots that I love (I agree the look is classic), but they always seem to dry out too easily. I am going to try your suggestion of putting a plastic liner in them.

  4. I couldn’t agree more – very little beats a beautiful ‘aged’ terracotta pot showing off a beautiful plant. I do have a mixture of pots terracotta, glazed, plastic and even recycled polystyrene (styrofoam) boxes.
    I find that I use the terracotta ones for plants that would otherwise find my garden to moist.

  5. Have you ever heard of potlifters? They are the best thing since sliced bread. I move big pots twice a year. You can move other things, like rocks, too.

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