How to Choose the Best Types of Pots for Indoor Houseplants

One of the important decisions you have to make when it comes to your new houseplants is what type of pot you are going to put it in.

I never really thought about the type of pot I would use other than that I would want the pots to be cute.

But then I read an article about how terra-cotta pots are the best pots because they are porous and make it more difficult to overwater your plants.

But terra-cotta pots… well, I don’t really like the look of them. So do I sacrifice the aesthetic to avoid possible overwatering?

I decided to find out what are the best types of pots for indoor houseplants and whether or not I could still go for the cute pots.

How to Choose The Best Types of Pots for Indoor Houseplants

There are a bunch of things you’ll want to think about as you’re deciding on which type of pot you want to bring home:

  1. Size
  2. Material
  3. Drainage
  4. Self Watering
  5. Saucer vs No Saucer

Choose the Right Size

Choosing the right size pot for your plant is actually pretty important.

It’s not a good idea to use a pot that is way too big for your plant assuming that the plant is going to grow and eventually fit the pot.

That’s a bad idea because if the pot is too big the roots of the plant have a hard time sucking up all of the water and that can lead to soil that is just too moist for the plant.

The common rule of thumb for choosing the right size pot is to go up by 2 inches from the previous pot size when repotting.

If you’re wondering how you know when it’s time to re-pot, you’ll know if the roots are starting to grow out of the bottom of your pot or if the plant is getting too big and heavy and risking knocking the whole pot over.

Choose the Right Material

I’m going to break the materials down into just two categories. Let’s call them, plastic and non-plastic.

Clay, Ceramic & Terra-Cotta

When I was thinking of terra-cotta pots and not loving the look of them, I was thinking of those traditional orange-y clay like pots like these ones from Amazon:

best types of plant pots for indoor houseplants

But those aren’t the only pots that are porous. There’s also ceramic and other types of clay pots which means that, actually, you can get tons of beautiful pots in porous materials.

Check out these beauties from Amazon:

If you are a notorious overwater-er, then one of these materials is going to at least help you out some.

On the other hand, if you forget to water your plants, then you are better off with a plastic pot that will retain more moisture.

The other thing to consider with clay, ceramic or terra-cotta pots is that they are heavy. This might be a good thing if you have a strong cat who likes to swat things off of shelves, or a bad thing if you don’t want to contend with heavy, soil filled pots.


Plastic pots come in all types of beautiful styles which makes them a very attractive choice if you love your plants as part of your decor.

Plastic pots will retain more moisture, even with a drainage hole, so they are better a option if you are someone who forgets to water from time to time.

They are also a lot lighter than the non-plastic pots and that’s a plus if you find you have to move your plants around. Especially as you start to get some bigger plants!

Drainage Hole or No Drainage Hole?

I believe there’s a definitive answer to this.

Go with a drainage hole. It provides drainage. It’s in the name.

This beautiful pot from Amazon has a drainage hole & a saucer:

If you find a pot that doesn’t have drainage, then you can always McGyver a hole into it, but personally, I’m not that good with power tools.

Without a drainage hole the chances of the roots sitting in too much water are going to be a lot higher and then you’re in trouble. Roots do not like sitting in water. Trust me, I know.

If you do find a pot that you really, really love and it doesn’t have a drainage hole, there is hope.

You can keep your plant in the plastic grow pot it probably came in and then just stick that in the pot that doesn’t have a hole. It even has a fancy French name.


You can put a couple of rocks underneath the plastic pot to keep it elevated off the bottom of the hole-less pot, too to be extra safe with those roots.

Self-Watering Pots. Yea or Nay?

Here’s the thing. Part of the plant lifestyle is about taking care of the plants, right? So, then to me, a self watering planter is kind of taking away part of that experience.

But, there are times when a self watering pot might be a great idea. Like if you are notorious for forgetting to water the plants.

Or if you are someone who travels a lot and don’t want to have to hire a plant babysitter.

Or maybe you have one plant in particular that just really doesn’t do well if it dries out and so you figure with the self-watering planter you will be safe no matter what. That makes sense.

Earthbox is a popular choice for a self-watering pot:

But, other than those instances, I say figure out how to water the plants properly yourself. It’s part of the fun.

What About Saucers?

I say yes to saucers! By now you’ve probably decided that your first choice for a pot is going to be one with a drainage hole, so that means you’re going to have water draining out of your pots!

If you’ve got a saucer under that pot, then you don’t have to worry about where the draining water is going to go.

You do want to be careful about how much water ends up in the saucer because if it does fill up with water, then you’ve got the roots sitting in water which you don’t want.

You can use a turkey baster to drain the saucer if you want. Or just dip it out into the sink.

What to Do with Those Plastic Grow Pots

Those plastic containers with the holes in them that you might have bought your plant in are called grow pots and you can use them inside your no hole decorative pots to help with drainage.

But, when it does come time to repot out of those plastic grow pots, or if you are repotting right away, keep those plastic grow pots!

You can re-use them if you decide to grow new plants from cuttings. Once the cutting is ready to go in soil, a small plastic grow pot is a great place to start it.

You Now Know All the Best Types of Pots for Indoor Houseplants

You should be feeling confident in finding the very best types of pots for indoor plants.

Plastic or ceramic, saucer or not, you got this.