Plants 101

How-To: Pick a Planter for Your Plant

Say perfect plant planter three times fast. Choosing a planter is not nearly as hard, once you know what to look for. Hint: read on to find out.

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Do I need a New Planter?

Yes. But, before we begin explaining why, may we say, congratulations on your new plant! Now comes the first step in plant parenthood: repotting. It’s why you need a new planter and we’re going to tell you how to choose one.

Know Before You Grow

When talking to other plant people, the terms “pot” and “planter” will be used interchangeably. Pots are generally smaller, round and are usually meant to contain one plant. Planters are generally meant for outdoors, are an irregular size, and can contain many plants. But here at The Sill, we use both terms to refer to our indoor plant containers.

Do I Have to Repot?

Yes. It’s always a little fun to get dirty and, more importantly, it’s good for your plant. Repotting your plant also gives it fresh potting mix to grow in. Not only will your plant be able to sustain its current size, but it will also be able to get larger. Initially, repotting doesn’t always mean going up a pot size. Repotting could mean changing out old potting mix that has degraded in nutrients. But eventually, your plant will need a larger pot when it outgrows its current one.

Does Size Matter?

Yes. When we talk about plants, we often refer to them in size or inches. This does not refer to the plant at all, but refers to the diameter of the pot that it is planted in. For example, a 4” plant refers to a plant growing in a 4” diameter pot, regardless of the size of the plant — it comes in a 4” tall x 4” wide pot. We use these terms of measurement to accommodate diversity in height and types of plants. A cactus that fits into a 4” pot may be 1” or 1 ft. tall. When choosing a pot, choose a pot that is 1-2” larger than the current size if the plant is currently in a 10” pot or smaller. If your current pot size is >10”, choose a pot that is 2-3” larger in diameter.

Does My Planter Need Drainage?

Yes. We will always recommend selecting planters and pots with drainage, especially if you are testing the waters in your watering abilities – but it's totally possible to make planters without drainage work with a little finesse! It is best to remember to pour no more than 1/3 of the container's size in water. You can also line the bottom of the planter with lava rocks or similar to create crevices for excess water to drain into. These methods will definitely help decrease the chances of root rot.

Positively Porous

Now you’re ready to choose a new pot or planter, right? Well, before you go, here is one last thing to consider. What is my planter made of? Most stores carry terracotta, wood or plastic planters. Our advice is to go porous. Porous ceramics like terracotta will dry more evenly than plastic pots, and any wood planter will dry even faster than terracotta. Ceramic planters also are great choices. And if you're worried about weight, fiberglass planters are ideal for plants 8" or larger in diameter. Get crafty. Horticulture is just as much of an art as it is a science.


Words By The Sill

Empowering all people to be plant people — a collection of articles from The Sill’s team of Plant Experts across a variety of plant care topics to inspire confidence in the next generation of plant parents. Welcome to Plant Parenthood™.