Types of Terracotta Garden Pots

Made of clay and fired at low temperatures, terracotta pots, with their trademark redish-pink color complement all types of plants. “Terracotta” means “baked earth” in Italian. The highest quality clay used to make these pots is found in Italy, where they have been made for thousands of years.


Most commonly available in a molded style, standard terracotta pots are widely available at garden centers, discount stores and home improvement centers. They are approximately the same height as the diameter of their top, with the rim thicker than the rest of the pot and delineated by a lip proportionate to the size of the pot. Standard terracotta pots are available in sizes ranging from 1 1/2 inches up to 2 feet in diameter. Standard shaped terracotta pots are also available with a rolled rim, most often in sizes ranging from 4 inches to 24 inches in diameter.

Half-Height Bulb Pans

Shaped like a standard terracotta pot with either a flat or rolled rim, half-height pots are often called “bulb pans” and are used to force tulips or daffodils for indoor winter bloom. Terracotta half-height bulb pans are also ideal for cacti and succulents with their shallow root systems; the smaller mass of soil in these pots dries out more quickly, which cacti and succulents prefer.


Primarily for amaryllis bulbs or azaleas, tall terracotta pots balance out the extensive top growth of these types of plants. The extra mass of soil keeps the pots upright when the height of amaryllis plants and flowers can make standard pots top-heavy and prone to tip over. The same is true of the woody azalea when grown as a potted plant; in bloom, its mass can cause a standard size pot to tip over. Azaleas also appreciate the additional root space the taller pots have to offer.

Square or Rectangular Trough

Molded and often decorated with terracotta 3D appliques, square or rectangular troughs are used as outdoor landscape features more often than they are used for indoor potted plants. They vary from table-top size up to several feet long and are often planted with a variety of plants and flowers, creating a true container garden.


Used by ancient cultures to hold wine, olive oil and other liquids, large, urn-shaped terracotta pots most often flank the entrance to a private home or public building. They can be planted with annual or perennial flowers, evergreen shrubs, deciduous shrubs or small trees.

Strawberry Jar

Urn-shaped with a series of holes evenly spaced in the side-walls, terracotta strawberry jars can also be used to grow flowers or herbs. The plants are planted at the top of the jar and also in each hole in the side-walls. Strawberries grown this way produce nearly as many berries as the same number of plants grown in the ground.

Keywords: terra cotta pots, terracotta garden pots, types of pots

About this Author

Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a freelance writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.