Indoor Plant Ideas

Why Terra Cotta Pots Could Be Your Saving Grace if You Overwater Your Plants

Kara Jillian Brown

Photo: Getty Images / MmeEmil
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Have you ever noticed how terra cotta pots change colors when you water your plants? They get darker because they're quickly absorbing excess water. This can be your saving grace if you tend to give your plants a bit too much to drink, explains Hannah Street, co-founder of Oasis Plant Shop in Dallas, Texas.

"Because terra cotta pots are so porous, plants thrive more in that material than they would like in like a glazed porcelain," says Street. "The root of a plant really does like airflow. They don't want to be constricted and sometimes glazed pottery restricts that airflow. Plants thrive so well in terra cotta because they're a natural material. Soil, and the root of the plants, and the plants themselves just adapt better in something that's more like their own environment, as opposed to like a manmade product."

And because almost all terra cotta pots come with drainage, it's even harder to add too much water. "If you want to be a good plant parent, have healthy living plants, you need to have drainage like a proper drainage hole," says Street. "And terracotta, that's just standard in terracotta pots."

When watering your plants, Street says to just water the soil around the base of the plant until water comes through the bottom and into the saucer. "Once that water hits down in that saucer, you know 'Okay, I've given it plenty of water,'" she says. Allow the plant to drink up the excess water and if there's still water in the saucer after an hour or two, that means it's had enough and you can dump the excess. As long as you're watering your plant no more than every seven to 10 days, when using a terra cotta pot, you shouldn't have to worry about using too much water.

"There are so many cute pots out there these days but they're just not made by plant people," says Street. "I've been doing this, 15, 16 years and terra cotta pots are just the best. Absolutely the best."

Reap terra cotta pot benefits with these four options

1. House Plant Shop Short 4" Terra Cotta Pot, $20

House Plant Shop Short 4" Terra Cotta Pot

Short and stout, this 4-inch pot is great for your smaller plants. It's complete with a drainage hole and saucer.

Shop now: House Plant Shop Short 4" Terra Cotta Pot, $20

2. House Plant Shop Standard 6" Terra Cotta Pots, $27

House Plant Shop Standard 6" Terra Cotta Pots

At 6 inches wide, this is a great pot if you're looking to size up some of your smaller plants to a roomier home. In the latest episode of Greene Thumb by Well+Good, plant doctor Maryah Greene shares that you want to put plants that are outgrowing their home into a pot that's two inches larger than its current pot.

Shop now: House Plant Shop Standard 6" Terra Cotta Pots, $27

Learn more about repotting in this episode:

3. House Plant Shop Tall 4" Terra Cotta Pot, $20

House Plant Shop Tall 4" Terra Cotta Pot

This tall 4 inch terra cotta pot is great for trailing plants like a string of bananas ($10) that you'd like to drape over the side. It's also great for potting any plant that you'd just like to have sit a bit higher up.

Shop now: House Plant Shop Tall 4" Terra Cotta Pot, $20

4. House Plant Shop 11" Terra Cotta Pots Large Bowl, $45

House Plant Shop 11" Terra Cotta Pots Large Bowl

This terra cotta bowl is great for planting small succulent arrangements and herbs. It also comes with a drainage hole to help prevent overwatering.

Shop now: House Plant Shop 11" Terra Cotta Pots Large Bowl, $45

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