Choice and maintenance of plant pots

vasos em mármore

On balconies, indoors and balconies they are essential, but even with a garden or yard, sometimes with poor soil or rented property, one option is to use plant pots.

Plant pots have the advantage of being able to be moved, which facilitates tests in different lighting conditions, changes in the organization of spaces and decorative groupings.

Plant Pots – Materials

There are plant pots in different materials and each one has characteristics that even change the maintenance of the plant, mainly in the need for watering:

Vasos-de-polietileno  e ceramica

Plastic: Resistant, cheap, light and they exist in countless shapes, colors and sizes, but they get too hot in the sun (which can damage the plant, dry the material and decrease its durability) and do not allow the earth to breathe. They are often used as a base for wooden or glass vases, for some types of vertical gardens and as temporary containers for seedlings.

vasos de plantas brancos polietileno cimento
Photo: casatreschic

Polyethylene: Reasonably priced, they are lightweight and come in many sizes, colors and models. They last well, but may fade over time, unless they are protected by ultraviolet rays in their manufacture.

vasos de ceramica barro

Natural ceramics (clay): Used material, reasonably priced, in diverse shapes and sizes and are the best for plants. They retain water and moisture, keeping the soil fresh for longer. If they stay in the sun too long without watering, they can dry out. They are easy to break and crack. In the shade or with the accumulation of water they can create mosses (due to humidity). In the sun they can create white spots. Avoid applying varnish to the clay pot, as this does away with the permeability that is good for plants. Terracotta pots (clay subjected to high temperatures) are more resistant.

Vasos ceramica esmaltada e comum
Photo: arquiteturadoimovel

Coconut fiber: Ecological, it retains a lot of moisture, which is great for some plants, but over time they lose their shape.

Cement or concrete: Cheap, long lasting and perfect for the outdoors. Can be painted with PVA paint. They are very heavy. It is best to stay on the ground or in areas that support your weight. Because its walls are very thick, even small plants need larger pots than other materials.

Vasos para plantas de fibra de coco
Photo: Uol

Stone: Heavy and very porous (which will require more constant watering than pots with other materials or the use of a plastic pot inside). The number of models and formats is more limited.

Metallic: Very decorative and light, but with a high cost, they are usually used as cachepots.

Vasos de planta diversos
Photo: casatreschic

Fiberglass: Beautiful, expensive and durable, but warm up a little.

Wood: Usually used as cachepô, superimposed on vases of other material. It has very varied prices. They are very hot and can harm some plants in places with a strong summer. They need maintenance so that the wood does not spoil in the sun and rain.

vasos de plantas de pedra
Photo: archiexpo

Enamelled ceramics: The famous Vietnamese vases are very durable and beautiful, but quite expensive.

Glass: Used for temporary arrangements, cut flowers or aquatic plants or superimposed on plastic pots with holes. It should not be placed in the sun, it is expensive and requires a lot of maintenance.

vasos de metal
Photo: terra

Plant Pots – Care in Selection and Maintenance


a) Make sure, especially if you are going to plant a vegetable garden or a fruit tree in pots, that the material is not toxic.

b) Always use potted plants with good drainage (the holes in the bottom of the pot). Soaked soils rot the roots.

c) If the sun is very strong, avoid vessels in dark and matte colors, which will tend to heat up more.

vasos viet vidro concreto madeira polietileno ceramica fibra de vidro
From left to right: Vietnamese, glass, concrete, wood, polyethylene, ceramics and fiberglass

d) Check frequently that the drain holes are working. They can become clogged with soil or roots and this should be resolved quickly.

e) If the vessel is very large or heavy, consider using casters to be able to move.

f) The size of the pot must be compatible with the size of the plant and its roots. It takes enough wate

vasos de madeira
Photo: casaeconstrucao

g) Large plant pots with a small mouth are great for herbaceous plants or annual flowers, but they can be a problem and have to be destroyed when changing a plant that has grown a lot, even more if it is a woody plant with a large lump . For her, prefer vessels with a wider mouth.

h) Use a mixture of vegetable soil instead of garden soil in the pots. Follow the mixing instructions provided by the vendor or on specialized websites. The good mixture is light and loose and will feed and allow better drainage for your plant.

vaso de vidro
Photo: jetdicas

i) For good drainage, place pieces of tiles, bricks or vases on the bottom of the pots. And above them, expanded clay and then a geotextile blanket (known as Bidim), which will keep the land separate from this drainage area.

j) If you put plates to accommodate the excess water, don’t forget to put sand on them to avoid mosquitoes.

k) Do not mix plants with different light and humidity needs in the same pot.


a) Potted plants need more water than flower beds.

b) Water the plants in pots, especially the most fragile ones, with watering cans with small holes or thin and curved spouts or hoses with “little shower”. Avoid strong jets of water in the vessels.

Vaso em concreto
Photo: Apartmenttherapy

c) Consider the possibility of automatic drip irrigation if there are many potted plants.

d) Water the plants according to the need of each one, their position (in the sun, half shade or shade) and the season. In general (apart from cacti, succulents and a few other plants) if you put your finger on the pot soil and it is dry, water it.

e) The position of the Sun changes according to the seasons, therefore, some parts of your yard, garden or balcony may stop receiving or start receiving Sun in some seasons. Follow the behavior of the plants to see if it is time to move them.

Cris Paola Project – Hamilton Penna Photos

f) Plants grow differently. When placing more than one plant in the same pot, observe its growth and if one is not hindering the growth of the others.

g) Depending on the growth, eventually the plant pots should be replaced by larger ones. If the roots are coming out of the drainage holes, small leaves or less flowers grow, these are signs that the plant is large for the pot.

vasos de concreto

Photo: casaejardim

h) Keep plants free of withered flowers, dead branches, etc. and leaves clean from dust. Clean monthly with mineral or coconut water soaked in clean fabric and keep away insects. Note that some plants, such as begonia, should not have their leaves cleaned with water directly, but with a soft dry brush.

i) Harvesting fruits, flowers and leaves from the garden stimulates production.

vasos em mármore
Photo: chadosdedecoracao

j) Climbers may need supports and driving.

k) Add vegetable earth eventually. And if you feel that the plants are not growing so well, it may be an indication that you need to change the substrate or improve it.

l) Clean or wash plant pots externally from time to time.

m) Diseased plants must be separated from the others so as not to spread the disease.

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