The Genuine Article
The terra-cotta pot is as iconic as the white picket fence of Main Street, U.S.A. Its breathable―if brittle―walls, which allow moisture in and out, provide excellent aeration for plants. Even the most basic 18-inch-tall, 30-pound Italian terra-cotta pot (shown, far left; about $50 at garden centers) can be pricey.
The Flattering Imitation
Molded from a traditional Italian planter and made of a polyethylene resin, the Vaso Italiano Planter (shown, left; $50, plantcontainers.com
) is 18 inches tall and weighs seven pounds. It won't fade, crack, or chip with exposure to the elements―but it also won't breathe or age to a ruddier color like the real thing.
"This one looked the most obviously fake," says Wilson. Since the resin version convinced only one of our experts, you might mix this in with other planters.