Your Balcony Garden: Ceramic Pots vs. Plastic Containers

in Gardening on by

Choosing between ceramic pots and plastic containers for your balcony garden can be confusing. Each type has its pros and cons. If you’re a new gardener, you may have to experiment with both to truly understand their differences.

Ceramic Pots

A ceramic pot is a clay pot which is hardened by baking the clay at high temperatures. A glaze may be added to the pot for decorative purposes and to help prevent cracking. You can find these pots in many sizes and colors.

Advantages of Ceramic Pots

Ceramic pots are more decorative. They also hold less moisture, which is best when your plant’s soil should be kept moist but not wet.

They are better for your larger plants because they weigh more. As your plant grows heavier on the top, ceramic pots can counter the weight, making them less likely to topple over.

Disadvantages of Ceramic Pots

Due to their weight, moving full ceramic pots can be difficult. You may need to place plants in ceramic pots on wheels to transport them.

Ceramic breaks when dropped. The sharp edges on the broken pieces can cause injuries. Ceramic’s tendency to break can be a problem on your balcony garden where wind or careless handling could cause a pot to fall off the balcony. Such an incident might injure someone below, exposing you to liability.

Some ceramic pots have no drainage holes, so you can’t plant anything directly inside of them. If you like the appearance of a pot without a drainage hole, you can use a plastic pot to hold your plant, and then place it inside the ceramic pot.

Plastic Containers

You can find plastic containers in many shapes and sizes. Most of the plants you buy will come in standard green or black plastic containers, but more decorative plastic plant containers are available. Some are designed to look like ceramic pots. The better quality ones are so realistic that you may not be able to tell them apart from real ceramic.

Advantages of Plastic Containers

Plastic containers are lightweight, making them easier to transport when filled. Since plastic doesn’t shatter into sharp pieces when dropped, it’s safer if you have pets or children.

Plastic retains moisture better than ceramic. This trait helps to keep your plants with high water requirements from drying out.

You can’t put a new plant in a pot that previously held a diseased plant without proper disinfection. Plastic is easy to clean and disinfect when reusing your pots.

Disadvantages of Plastic Containers

Plastic becomes very hot when left in the summer sun. Too much heat may be harmful to your plants. You can reduce this risk by purchasing white containers, which retain less heat than dark containers.

If you’re environmentally conscious, you may prefer to avoid plastic products. Many cities don’t accept plastic pots in their recycling programs, so you may have trouble recycling them.

To select the pots best suited to your needs, consider the growing requirements of your plants, safety and aesthetics.


Lisa Bernstein: As a long-time apartment dweller and seasoned condominium trustee, I have dealt with numerous landlord-tenant, property management, and day-to-day apartment complex issues. My extensive, direct experience has led to invaluable insights into apartment life from both the tenant and management perspectives.

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