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Plant Pot Buying Guide – How To Select The Best Plant Pot For You


  • Is your plant suitable for indoors, outdoors, or both?
  • The size of your pot will be determined by the size of your plant, now and in the future.  
  • Only buy what you can carry, as plants can increase in weight and size over time.
  • Unlike indoor plants, outdoor plant pots need to be weatherproof and resist the elements. 
  • You can take your plant out of the existing black nursery pot and repot it.
  • When using outdoor pots to repot your plants make sure the pot has a drainage hole and pot plate. 
  • If you leave your pot in its black nursery pot, decide if the plant needs drainage or not.
  • Indoor plant pots that do not have a drainage hole pool water and cause root rot. 
  • Some indoor pots have an internal water well step to lift the pot and prevent root rot.
  • When using indoor plant pots with a drainage hole, make sure you have a pot plate to catch water overflow.

When you buy a plant for your garden or home, it usually comes in a black plastic nursery plant pot. This is because it is cheaper for the grower to use the plastic pot than to re-pot it into a stylish and decorative plant pot. Fortunately, this gives you enormous opportunities to explore and select a plant pot that is right for your space.

These days there is an unlimited range of stylish and fun plant pots that you can choose from to complement your home and garden décor. However, with so much to choose from it can become confusing. This simple plant pot buying guide will help you select the best pot for you.

1. The Place

Will your plant be an indoor or outdoor plant?

An important part of your plant pot selection process is knowing if your plant is an indoor or outdoor plant, or both. 

Outdoor plant pots need to be weatherproof and resist the elements. They will be watered regularly and will have to cope with fluctuations in temperature; otherwise, they may crack.

On the other hand, indoor plant pots do not need to be as hardy because they are not exposed to these harsher elements. The main upside to indoor plants is that there is more of a variety of plant pots to choose from.

2. The Function

Does your plant pot require drainage holes and a pot plate?

Drainage holes are usually located at the bottom of a pot. A pot plate is a plate or saucer, you see under a pot that catches the overflow of water.

Depending on the plant and your decor ideas, you may decide to take the plant out of the nursery pot and replant it. If you are replanting, your plant pot will need to have drainage holes, and a pot plate if you desire one. Pot plates are useful because when you water the plant, the excess water will sit in the plate under the pot and keep the plant hydrated for longer.

If you are keeping your plant in the nursery pot and placing it into another “cover pot” you may not need drainage holes or a pot plate. Some plant pots have a step inside that lifts the pot off the bottom, so the water filters into a small well under the plant. This way the roots of the plant will not be in constant contact with the water and rot. If the pot you select does not have a step, you should place a small 1cm or 2cm block under your nursery pot to raise your plant from the base of the pot. 

3. The Size

Is your plant small or large?

The size of the plant will determine the size of the pot. You should consider what size the plant will grow to in the future when considering the size of the plant pot. Often the size and of the pot will control the growth of the plant. Other plants also have strong root systems that grow and can eventually crack your pot.

Large plant pots are best for outdoor plants. Small or tiny plant pots are good for indoor plants because they don’t take up large amounts of space. If you want a larger plant pot, always remember to consider the material of the pot carefully. This is because as the plant grows it can become very heavy and you may need more than one person to help move it.

4. The Material

What material do you want, and is it right for your plant?

This is where the fun starts and you get to go shopping! Besides matching the plant pot to your home décor or garden, the material is important to consider. The material a plant pot is made from will determine its weight, durability, and how it may react to the elements. Also, certain materials are not easy to shape or finish, so your choice may be limited.

Here are some things you should know about popular plant pot materials before you make your final purchase:

Clay & Terracotta

  • Clay and terracotta pots are made of very porous materials. It is normal for an unsealed pot to have water seep through the walls of the pot, but it dries very quickly. You may not want this effect and require the pot to be sealed on the inside with a waterproof finish. If you choose this material, make sure to be on the lookout for this added waterproof protection.

Unglazed Terracotta

  • Unglazed terracotta plant pots look great, but they can leave marks on your indoor or outdoor alfresco spaces. To avoid any damage, use pot risers or display these pots on grassy outdoor areas.

Glazed clay

  • Glazed clay plant pots are usually only glazed on the outside and not on the inside. This technique allows the water to soak into the plant pot’s sides and keep the plant’s soil moist for longer.


  • Cement plant pots are very trendy, but this material can react with plants and stop them from growing. Also, if the plant pot is not sealed, water may seep through the sides of the plant pot when you water your plant.


  • Terrazzo plant pots are basically made from cement. They look fantastic but can be very heavy. If you don’t have anyone to help you move your plant in the future, this may not be the best option for you.


  • Fibreglass is very light and versatile and is used both indoors and outdoors. Because they are light, size is easy to manage. Quite often the UV sun rays outdoors can make the colours of these types of pots fade. Also, they wear over time and may leak; to stop this try using a plastic liner pot.


  • Plastic plant pots are waterproof and sometimes are made so well that you cannot even tell it is plastic. They are very durable and long-lasting both indoor and out. The range of sizes and styles can be limited.


  • Ceramic plant pots come in many shapes and sizes, and generally don’t weigh too much as they get bigger. These plant pots are usually glazed on the inside and outside so they will always be waterproof. The downside to ceramic pots is that they can be as fragile as glass; so display these in a safe place.


  • Metal plant pots are usually made from zinc or tin, and stay light even as the sizes get larger. Many metal plant pots can be beautifully painted and finished with modern décor colours or antique finishes. However, regardless of the finish, all metal plant pots will rust at one point or another.


  • Wooden planters blend well with any outdoor garden or alfresco area. Unfortunately, they are not waterproof, but you can place a plastic liner in them if you want to use them for a longer period and prevent wood rot.

For more information about caring for indoor plants, read our Koch Blog A Guide To Choosing & Caring For Indoor Plants. For more information on ceramic plant pots, read our helpful Ceramics FAQ page, or browse our pots range on our website or instore at our Koch & Co Auburn Superstore.

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