How to Choose the Best Outdoor Plant Pots, According to an Expert
Like planning the perfect barbecue or remodeling a laundry room, selecting the right pots for your plants is an art form. The process becomes even more complex when you decide to take your seedlings outside—which is why we asked an expert to break down everything you should know before shopping for outdoor plant pots.
"It's helpful to always consider what the intended usage is for the pot," says Stephanie Horton, the professional plant consultant behind Instagram account @botanicalblackgirl. "Are you interested in container gardening, or is this strictly ornamental? We can then determine how much wiggle room we have (or don't have) as it pertains to size." For example, potted vegetables require closer attention to the space and depth, while ornamental plants will allow you to "lean more on the aesthetics and style of your pot versus the efficiency needed with veggies and herbs."
When it comes to materials, Horton is a fan of the classics, but she's quick to note that many lightweight alternatives are just as visually pleasing and functional. "Terra-cotta is a staple both indoor and outdoor for me because it's porous for when I mistakenly overwater, easily accessible, and very cute," she explains. "However, I'm fairly indecisive and often want the ability to move things around. Heavy terra-cotta or ceramics can make it difficult to achieve that." If mobility is a priority, she recommends opting for high-density plastic pots that mimic the appearance of stone, ceramic, and concrete.
Hanging pots have a whole other set of factors to take into consideration. "The best advice I can provide is that you make sure whatever you hang is stable," Horton says. "There's nothing worse than minding your business at home, perhaps relaxing, eyes closed, beverage in hand… Then—BOOM! CRASH!" To avert such crises, take extra time to determine the most secure hanging method possible. "Think of the total weight of your pot, hanger, and plant when watered to give you an idea of what type of hanging apparatus to use for your plant baby."
And don't forget: Houseplants experience a culture shock when moved outdoors. According to Horton, taking it slow is the best way to avoid snafus. "Introduce them to a shadier area first and watch for sunburn on the leaves," she says. "Make sure to keep your plants hydrated, also. They will generally dry out faster outside, so keep that in mind."
Above all else, Horton wants you to give every plant the TLC it deserves. "Don't get carried away with so many plants that you forget about a few," she advises. "Plant maintenance can be a little time-consuming, so don't overwhelm yourself."
We used Horton's advice, coupled with customer reviews, to find the best outdoor plant pots money can buy. Keep scrolling to learn what makes these picks stand out.
- Best Overall: La Jolíe Muse Plant Pot with Drain Hole
- Best Rated: Classic Home and Garden Premiere Collection Rosie 10″ Copper Planter
- Best Small: D'Vine Dev Ceramic Pot with Drainage Hole and Saucer
- Best Medium: Classic Home and Garden Honeysuckle Planter in 13″ Fossil Stone
- Best Large: Southern Patio 2-Inch Brown Resin Garden Pot
- Best Terra-Cotta: Mistana Brown Winchester 2-Piece Terracotta Pot Set
- Best Ceramic: Opalhouse Textured White Ceramic Planter
- Best Metal: Allgala Galvanized Planter Pot
- Best Hanging: La Jolíe Muse Set of 2 Large Hanging Planters
- Best Budget: La Jolíe Muse Plant Pot 2-Pack
- Best Splurge: Veradek Galvanized Steel Planter Box
- Best Self-Watering: HBServices 10″ Self-Watering Plant Pot
- Best Wall Planter: Tosnail 2-Pack Metal Wall Planter Baskets with Coco Liner