How to Choose Flower Pots


Choosing the right pot for your plants does more than create an attractive display. Although appearance is certainly a consideration, the container must provide adequate room for soil and root formation, good drainage to prevent soggy soil and access for watering and plant care. Without these features, your plants will not grow or bloom as expected.

Step 1

Choose pots in the correct size for your plant as the little seedling may grow many times its current size. Consider the size of the plant at maturity when determining the size of the pot for outdoor plants, particularly if you are growing annuals that reach maturity within a few weeks to a month or more. Place slow-growing plants in smaller pots and repot periodically to maintain the proper size.

Step 2

Select a plant pot with adequate drainage holes. Terra cotta and plastic plant pots often have drainage holes in the bottom, but decorative ceramic or stone pots may lack drainage holes. If you choose a pot without drainage holes, provide a layer of rocks or gravel at the bottom to promote drainage and assume some risk of waterlogged soil that may inhibit growth.

Step 3

Plant seedlings or plants in a pot that allows room around the base of the plant for watering. Although plants can be grown in funnel-shaped pots with narrow mouths, it is difficult to water or fertilize plants without damaging or wetting the foliage. Some plants may thrive, but others like African violets suffer when foliage is handled excessively or gets wet.

Step 4

Choose colors and shapes that complement the plant and its setting. Neutral colors like natural terra cotta work for nearly any plant, but bright blues, yellows or reds may enhance the appearance of the plant. Keep in mind that color should enhance the plant's foliage and bloom.

Things You'll Need

  • Seedlings
  • Plant pots


  • University of Illinois Extension: Choosing a Container for Planting
  • A & M University Texas Master Gardener: Houseplants
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Container Gardening

Who Can Help

  • University of Georgia Extension: Gardening in Containers
  • Container Gardening Tips: A complete Guide to Container Gardening
Keywords: choose plant pots, select plant pots, plant containers

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.