Terra cotta pots are made of light, porous, unglazed clay with a reddish tint. These pots look attractive in most gardens and also have practical advantages over pots made of other materials. The porous clay allows water to evaporate more quickly, improving drainage and preventing novice gardeners from overwatering their plants.
The standard terra cotta flowerpot is a garden workhorse suitable for nearly any plant. These pots have a flat bottom with a drainage hole and nearly vertical sides. Terra cotta flower pots come in a variety of sizes suitable for nearly anything from cacti to ornamental trees. They are fairly inexpensive and go well with most decor.
Some terra cotta pots feature more rounded edges, giving them a bowl shape. Some of these pots have similar proportions to the standard flowerpots with a slight rounding of the edges for decoration. Others have a wide, shallow stature. These latter bowls are good for miniature cactus gardens and other container gardens using small plants that do not require deep soil. Their low profiles make them attractive on top of a table.
Rectangular terra cotta planters have a utilitarian shape that works well for kitchen gardens and window boxes. These trough-shaped planters are suitable for growing rows of indoor herbs or other small plants on a windowsill, ledge or tabletop.
Urns or pedestal planters have a more decorative look than most other terra cotta pots. They feature a bowl on top to hold soil, tapering into a narrow stem and then expanding to a relatively wide base. They often have decorative designs on them and may be made of better quality terra cotta clay with more delicate, varied color. These pots function like little decorative columns, adding distinction or definition to the corners of a house, porch or patio or providing a central feature to draw the eye.