The choice of containers for planting flowers for use on patios, decks and porches seems endless. Deciding which kind of planter to use often presents a dilemma. Plastic pots come in a variety of colors, shape and sizes and last a long time. However, some gardeners simply want the natural look of terra cotta as an outdoor decorative accent. Terra cotta is unglazed clay pottery fired in a kiln and the container retains a rust-colored hue. Terra cotta pots allow plants to breathe and disperse water easily through the sides of these porous planting containers.
Standard flower pots feature round shapes that widen progressively toward the rim of the pot. Terra cotta pots come in a wide array of sizes to suit any container gardening need. Standard pots also include rectangular or square pots with a slightly smaller base to increase stability. Manufacturers sell drainage trays separately in matching terra cotta or you can use an optional clear plastic tray for a nominal expense.
Pedestal planters create instant impact when placed on each side of an entryway. These fluted planters can also be used to add vertical height to a container garden grouping. Pedestal terra cotta planters feature a standard-sized pot that tapers to a smaller column beneath the main portion of the planter. The column tapers outward to a wide base to stabilize the planter. This type of planter brings the refined look of terra cotta up to a more visible level and serves as the perfect accent in outdoor living spaces on decks, porches or patios.
Bowl-shaped terra cotta pots resemble a large mixing bowl. These planters feature a wide base with gently curving sides that form a short, squat planter appropriate for use on tables, benches or porches. Bowl container gardens allow designers to create a smaller container garden that contrasts nicely with larger pots. Bowl container gardens can be used as accents in the garden or placed as a focal point in a tree stump garden.
Terra cotta jars offer plenty of unique options to create a memorable container garden. Some varieties feature solid clay sides that allow the gardener to fill the pot with dirt and easily plant flowers. Jars have a narrow base that widens in the middle to a fluted edge. A great decorating option for a terra cotta jar involves tipping it onto its side in the garden bed. Fill the pot halfway with dirt and plant trailing flowers or vines sideways inside the pot. The foliage and flowers will trail out of the pot in a beautiful display.