Pots: Clay or Plastic?


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I want to buy new pots because I want to plant new seeds/seedlings. I was wondering if there are any differences between clay or plastic pots in terms of plant propagation. Plastic pots are cheaper yes, but I want to make sure that my plants will survive. What should I choose between these two?
 
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I'm not a big fan of clay pots, because they're heavy and it's not easy to clean them.
I grow all my miniature roses in plastic pots:) They're very inexpensive and they come in many different sizes and colors.
 

Pat

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The clay pots dry out faster than the plastic pots. I tend to go for the plastic pots also to avoid the watering problem.
 
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I want to buy new pots because I want to plant new seeds/seedlings. I was wondering if there are any differences between clay or plastic pots in terms of plant propagation. Plastic pots are cheaper yes, but I want to make sure that my plants will survive. What should I choose between these two?


To be honest although a lot depends on the quantity and what type of seeds or seedlings you are planning to start or grow - as well as what type of climate you are planning to do it in - its generally not necessary to buy anything specifically for this purpose - as for the most part recycled plastic containers like yoghurt pots or milk cartons etc do the job extremely well - which is what I use very successfully whenever I run short of small plastic pots.

As for the difference between terracotta (clay pots) and plastic pots - what you choose will very much depend on what kind of climate you live in as well as what type of plants you are planning to grow in them - with the following being worth bearing in mind when choosing between the two

Terracotta or unglazed clay pots - are a good choice for people who tend to over-water their plants and for plants that require well drained soil such as succulents or cacti - mainly because - as the walls of the pots are porous they allow air and moisture to penetrate both sides of the pot and therefore avoid excess moisture building up in the potting soil and damaging the roots - however the disadvantages are - that they are generally fairly expensive and extremely heavy, they are also prone to breaking easily and especially so in extremes of temperature and often very quickly look unsightly due to the white crust that forms on the surface from the mineral content of the water - they are also not a good choice in hot climates as they dry out far too quickly.

Whereas plastic pots apart from being much less expensive - as they are lighter, stronger and more flexible they are much easier to move around and a great choice for moisture loving plants and for those people that live in hot climates - as because they are not porous they retain moisture better - however one of the disadvantages is that although weather resistant - as the walls are much thinner than clay - they offer less protection to a plants roots in extremes of temperature - such as in hot climates when placed in direct sun - the extreme heat can boil the roots of a plant and in extreme cold you need to add some form of insulation in order to protect the roots from freezing - plastic pots are also not a good choice for someone that has a tendency to over-water their plants - as plants can quickly become waterlogged.
 
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I use plastic for propagation and seed starting. Usually you are dealing with a lot of small plants or seedlings and I assume you will be watching them carefully. They are affordable to buy in multiples and easy to store in the off season.
 
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Thank you for all the tips! The climate here in the Philippines is very hot, so I guess that I will have to go with plastic pots. Also, I sometimes go to work early or go home late, so I don't have that much time to water my plants. Thank you again for the suggestions! I learned a lot. :)
 
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I have used both, clay and plastic. Sadly the clay ones are very prone to breaking, but far well against bad weather, at least if they were made the right way. The plastic ones will often lose their color and eventually lose the pot. Some of my plastic ones got so pale and practically crumbled.
 
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I only use clay pots if I a displaying a flower arrangement in the front of my house and want it to look real nice. Plastic pots are much more lightweight and easier to clean than clay. I have not noticed much of a difference in the growing quality of my plants with whichever pot I use and so I just stick with plastic.
 
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Personally I think I would prefer a plastic pot myself, they're easier to maintain and claim plus they're not as heavy of the clay pot. I do think that the clay pots are much prettier but when it came down to it I would have to choose the plastic. Classic is not that expensive to buy in stores either so if you use it many times over you get your money's worth out of it. One more thing I like about them is that if you have a plant that is outgrown your pot you can simply split the placid down the middle and relocate it if you have no other choice.
 
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I prefer clay except for the expense. The reason I prefer them is that our summers can be very hot, and I have been told that clay helps keep the roots from getting too hot. It does dry out faster, but that just means checking morning and evening to make sure they have enough water. I will use a lot of plastic though because I can't afford the clay, but I will save the clay pots I do have for the hottest spots to help keep them safe.
 
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I make a lot of things from oven bake clay, so I may be a little biased, but I like the feel and weight of traditionally terracotta pots. The pots feel more sturdy, and seem more natural. It also gives me a feeling of nostalgia. I think the color does that for a lot of people, that is why many of the plastic pots are still the same color. But it is obvious when you pick them up (even full of dirt) that this is something else entirely. Plastic is likely to last longer, because it is not as fragile, but I will remain vigilant with the old way.
 
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I have to admit clay. Plastic gets brittle fast in the presence of UV light. Clay is heavier and yes can break, but plastic in my experience breaks just as much if not a little more than clay. Then there's the fact that I like to get crafty with my pots now and then. I've painted them in the past and even done mosaics with smooth glass. Plastic pots don't have the bonding surface for me to get crafty with them haha.
 
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I actually love different kinds of pots for plants. I have quite a few clay pots and I have noticed that they are not as durable as they used to be. I have also purchased nice glazed ceramic pots, a few of those spit when it got to cold. I have a one or two in the house that seem to be holding up okay. I like the colors very nice for the house. I also bought several plastic ones, these I use for annuals and accents. Most of these stayed very nice.

The only thing I have noticed is that the plastic ones just seem to dry out more completely then the clay or ceramic ones. It might be my imagination but I think they heat up faster outside. The clay ones feel cooler when you pick them up.
 
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It's a controversial topic. BPA tends to leach from plastic, which mimics estrogen. Because of that there's been lots of studies linked to early onset of development to health related issues possibly caused by BPA's hormonal effects. There's no completely avoiding it in the states due to packaging. That being said- generally if you stick to ceramics, glass and metal then you're less exposed to BPA's effects.
 
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While I mostly buy plastic pots, mainly for the lower costs and weight, I still have an affinity for clay pots. The weight and feel of them just seem so much more authentic! I haven't heard much about the drying/moisture rates between the two types until reading this thread, so it is something I might have to rethink as well.
 
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I buy plastic pots because they are cheaper, but if I had unlimited means I would only use clay. It doesn't get cold enough here for me to have to worry about them freezing, so my only real concerns would be adequate moisture and having a means to protect large pots from damage should I ever have to move them. Plastic does leach, which is a concern of mine, but it is very difficult to get around this.
 
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I am trying real hard to get away from as many plastic things as I can because they are not food for the environment. It is very hard to do and I am only partially successful in doing it. Clay pots are more expensive, but thrift stores often have a selection of them too and I am willing to pay a little more money.
 
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While I much prefer the look of clay pots, especially those that have been glazed and painted, for starting seeds or small plants I would use plastic, or like @gata montes says, any kind of container will work well, like yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese containers, milk or juice jugs, etc. Just poke a few holes in the bottom so they will drain. My mom saves these types of containers all year and then uses them in spring. I also save the pots and trays that all my new plants come in. If you save money on these containers, you'll then have more money to spend on the plants when they are grown and you want a "container garden".

One thing to keep in mind with clay or ceramic pots - if you live where it freezes, make sure you turn any empty pots upside down, because if they get water in them and then freeze, they will crack and break.
 
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