Everyone knows that houseplants must be in a container of some kind. While there are many types of containers that a gardener could choose from, the gardener must keep a few factors in mind when choosing a container for their houseplant. The container should be large enough to hold the proper amount of soil for the plant as well as the roots of the plant. The container should also be large enough to allow for proper watering, it should have bottom drainage and of course, it should be decorative and attractive without interfering with the attractiveness of the plant that it is to hold. Containers can be clay, ceramic, plastic, fiberglass, wood, aluminum, copper, brass or any other material that the gardener may desire.
Sometimes houseplants are bought in a glazed or unglazed clay pot, where the commercial grower had previously placed them. When using clay pots, the houseplant gardener must keep in mind that clay pots will absorb and lose moisture through their walls and roots will accumulate next to these walls because of this absorption of moisture and nutrients. These clay pots also provide excellent aeration for the roots. Because of the amount of moisture and aeration provided for the roots, these pots are considered some of the best containers for houseplants. If the gardener does not like the looks of a clay pot in their house, there are many different outer shells available that will cover up the pot, while allowing it to continue with its duties to the houseplant.
Ceramic pots, generally glazed on the outside, are usually made with no drainage holes. With no drainage holes, the gardener will have to be more careful when watering plants that have been placed in them. Flowering plants will not do well in this type of container, even with chips, shards or gravel placed in the bottom of the pot. Adding these things only provides a small space beneath the soil, allowing excess water to escape to and gather. As with other pots, make sure there is room for the proper amount of soil along with the roots of the plant, any ceramic pot that does not allow for these factors is not a good selection for the houseplant. When considering using ceramic pots, the gardener should keep these things in mind and choose accordingly. If a gardener chooses to use a ceramic container, there is another choice; a ceramic container can be used as the outer shell as with a clay pot.
Plastic and fiberglass containers are usually inexpensive, they are light and easy to handle and are usually very attractive. Plastic pots are the easiest to sterilize, making them easier to reuse. Unlike clay pots, these pots are not porous, so the houseplants placed in them will not need to be watered as often.
Other considerations regarding containers are the shape of the container should also be considered, tall containers would require a finer textured soil than shorter, wider pots. Finer textured soil will help maintain even moisture. Larger pots will require less watering than smaller pots. Decorative baskets can be beautiful containers to hold houseplants, but a plastic saucer should be placed in them before placing the houseplant in them to protect furniture and floors.
Plant type can also determine the type of container. Succulents generally thrive better in unglazed clay containers because they do not hold moisture, but plants such as a Boston fern may prefer a plastic container, because it will hold the moisture better. So knowing what the plant would do better in is always a good thing.