Best Garden Pots of 2021
The Cyclone 5" Self Watering Pot is, there's no other way to say it, fun. It comes in several pieces that you have to assemble and includes a fertilizer puck. It's fairly easy to put together, and the fertilizer puck just needs to be soaked before you are ready to plant seeds or re-pot a succulent. The included fertilizer expands to just about all the extra soil you will need if you're repotting and you'll only need a handful of extra soil if your sewing seeds. Once everything is assembled, this pot has a nice, clean, and simple aesthetic, and the self-watering feature helps keep even your neediest plants low maintenance.
Although the pot was fairly easy to assemble, the instructions could have been more clear. The size of this product also leaves you wanting a little more. We wish this pot was just a tad bit bigger. Although it is small and cute, the size does limit what you might be able to plant. Smaller house plants fit well in the 1/2 gallon cube, but vegetables and garden plants may need a bigger pot. All in all, this planter is a great option if you need something low maintenance that looks great around your home.
We were surprised by how much we liked the Homenote Plastic Planters. Instead of your normal run-of-the-mill plastic planters, they are sleek and stiff, with a mat finish. They are easy to use and come in four sizes, giving you variety. They also come with matching drainage plates so that if you do decide to take these guys inside, you can water your plants without watering the window sill as well.
There aren't a lot of negative things to say about the Homenote Plastic Planters except, perhaps, we wish that the largest pot was just a little bit bigger. The three smaller size pots offer a perfect variety of all you need, from succulent pot to a perfectly sized pothos planter, however, the largest pot is almost the same size and the next size down. If the largest pot was just a little bit bigger, it would add a lot more versatility to the set. However, no matter the size, this is a great deal for four great planters.
Our team loved these planters. The Le Tauci Plant Pots are easy to use, elegant, and have an attached water dish at the bottom. They are ceramic with a smooth finish and even come with small mesh circles to keep the dirt from falling out of the hole at the bottom. Because of their bowl-like shape, they are incredibly easy to fill with any plant of your choice and could be used either outside or indoors. It is hard to find beautiful and simple ceramic planters, and this set offers three.
The major downside for the Le Tauci Plant Pots is that the water dish is attached to the planters. Although we loved this feature for added convenience, it could make the pots harder to clean. If dirt were to get into the water dish, it would be a pain to dig out. However, it is nice to be able to move your plants without worrying about water and dirt dripping out of the bottom. With the nice clean look and feel, and the three different sizes, these pots are an excellent buy.
The Brajttt 2.5 Inch Ceramic Succulent Planter Pots are cute and functional. Not only do they each have their own charming glaze, but they also have their own adorable bamboo drainage plate. We found that the drainage plate is important, particularly with these little guys, because of how easy it is to give them a little too much water. These pots are great for spicing up a space or adding the finishing touch to your garden.
The downside to the Brajttt 2.5 Inch Ceramic Succulent Planter Pots is, of course, their size. What makes them so incredibly adorable, is also what causes them to be especially limited. Not many plants other than succulents will survive in such a small home, and sometimes even the smaller succulents have a hard time worming their way into these tiny ceramic planters. When we were planting succulents in these pots, we noticed that even the 2.5" succulents from the local nursery were bigger than the pots themselves. Not by much, but it was marginally difficult to insert the plants into the pots. However, if it's succulents you want, then these little pots are fun, cute, and you get six of them.
The Brajtt 6-Inch Succulent Pots are a good size for a medium-sized house plant or small herbs, they are decorative without being too flashy or uniform, and would look beautiful anywhere in your home or in your garden. We found that they are easy to plant in and love that they are similar but also slightly different from one another. They also include a ceramic drainage plate for each pot.
Although we love ceramic pots, they do have a downside. The Brajtt 6-Inch Succulent Pot might not be the pot for you if you're worried about breaking them. As lovely as they are, it is better to have a whole pot than a broken one, even if it does have a nice design. That being said, these are great garden pots for sturdy surfaces both inside and out.
The Next Gardener Succulent Pots much more than just succulent pots. Although we did end up planting a cactus in ours, these pots could be used for anything. Their fun and delicate designs make them a great addition to your interior decor or your garden and would not look out of place in either. They also come with ceramic drainage plates for each pot and have a good size and depth for a small houseplant or garden plant.
Depending on what you're trying to grow, The Next Gardener Succulent Pots might be on the small side, and it's worth considering that as ceramic pots, they are certainly breakable. These pots are decorative pots through and through, and probably wouldn't be a gardener's first choice for planting tomatoes or squash. However, if you aren't looking to grow a salad or tote your plants from room to room, these pots are a great option.
Do not try to move this pot when there is water in the drainage plate. This is true of most planters with a drainage plate, but we found that because the HBServices 8" Self-Watering Pot is made with soft plastic, the weight of the water causes the drainage plate to bend and spill. This is an unfortunate feature in this particular product due to the way the self-watering feature works. It is intended that the user fill the drainage plate with water and the plant suctions up the water through its roots rather than watering the plant directly. This means that the drainage plate is usually full of water, and thus can not really be moved without spilling water everywhere. For this reason, we felt that this pot did better in the garden, but could do great inside too.
The Sun-E 2.5-Inch Owl Pots are fun, charming, and colorful. They light up any space and bring your garden to life. They also come with small red mesh rounds to keep the dirt inside the pots. This is a nice feature since succulents usually require sandier soil. The owls also come in two different shapes, offering just a tad more variety.
We felt that the Sun-E 2.5-Inch Owl Pots would be much more valuable with some kind of drainage plate. These little guys were the only pots that came without them. You can of course water your baby succulents over your sink or let them soak in the sink, but with six of the little owls, that seems like an awful lot of extra work for something that could easily be mitigated with nothing more than a small plate. Due to this small absence, we felt that this product works best as an outdoor planter, limiting them immensely. These pots are also a touch smaller than the smallest succulents we could find, thus making the planting process perhaps more difficult than need be. All that aside, if you love the idea of giving tiny owls tiny succulent hairdos, these are the pots for you.
Although the Novelty Full Depth Round Pot does come with a drainage plate, it does not work as well as desired. The way the drainage plate attaches to the bottom of the pot disallows for much drainage to come through, and if you take it off, you will have a hard time putting it back on. We also found the material it is made out of to be flimsy, both in appearance and function. That being said, if you need something large and light, this is a great choice.
Why You Should Trust Us
When it comes to picking out garden pots and planters, our team knows what to look for. Head tester Liv Mertens has a love for gardening and has even built a couple of her own planters. She has been living in apartments for the last couple of years and has learned to keep her garden mobile. Good pots are essential to a mobile garden, and she has learned through trial and error what matters in picking a pot. The team put in lots of hours with these products in hand, planting and replanting. They used critical analysis to assess which pots work the best for the given criteria. Our team has both an eye for aesthetics and function so that you can have both a beautiful and productive garden.
While testing these pots, we evaluated them by using a series of given criteria and metrics, all the while taking into consideration how we might want to use them in our own homes. We planted and replanted our plants that we love so dearly, and assessed where each pot might work best and which features were most important to us. We based our results on versatility, ease of use, construction, and any special features.
Analysis and Test Results
The testing we performed on the products was based on the four metrics that best represent what to look for in a garden pot. We looked at size and material, but also made sure to take into consideration cool features such as self-watering or any particularly nice aesthetics. To test these factors we brought the pots into our own homes and experienced first hand what it was like to fill them with soil, use the self-watering features, and repot house plants and garden plants alike. Throughout the testing process, we found that we preferred ceramic pots to pots made of soft plastic, but also preferred hard plastic pots over ceramic pots. We found that the style of the drainage plate is important, and the size of the pot even more so. Using our findings, we built a comprehensive review based on the following criteria.
Versatility is evaluated based on the size of the pot, and whether or not you could use it both indoors and out. We found this to be the most important factor in assessing the pots because although plants may die, planters last a very long time. At least the good ones do. Assuming you don't want to buy a new planter every time you forget to water a plant or the season calls for a new flower, being able to use a pot for a variety of plants, in a variety of seasons and settings, is an invaluable feature.
Most of the pots offered good versatility, allowing for both indoor and outdoor use and without specific requirements of its plant. However, some plants were less versatile. The small 2.5 inch succulent plots, for example, could not house anything other than a succulent. The Novelty Full Depth Round Pot, on the other hand, was so large that it might be an inappropriate pot for something so small unless you plan on letting it grow for a very, very long time.
The most variable pots are the Homenote Plastic Planters and the Le Tauci Plant Pots. Both of these sets offer multiple sizes, and each size could be used for any number of plants. Not to mention, both products can be used for your indoor plants or outside if that suits you.
The least versatile pots were the Sun-E 2.5-Inch Owl Pots, as they don't allow for much room to grow and work better outdoors than they do indoors since they don't come with any way to catch excess water.
Ease of Use
The second metric we considered was how easy it is to use each of the pots. In general, larger pots with a wide-open mouth were easier to plant in than smaller pots that had a small opening at the top. We saw this primarily in the small 2.5-inch succulent pots. Especially when trying to shove a prickly cactus inside one of them. The easiest plastic pots to use were the Homenote Plastic Planters, because of their wide-mouth design and simple drainage plate. The easiest ceramic pots to use were the Le Tauci Plant Pots, due to their bowl-like structure and attached drainage plate.
Quality of Construction
For the quality of construction, we considered the durability of the products and the material each pot was made out of. The garden pots we reviewed come in one of three materials: hard plastic, soft plastic, and ceramic. After spending hours moving around the garden and home, potting and repotting, lifting and adjusting, we noticed distinct advantages and disadvantages in each material. Soft plastic is incredibly malleable and light. Soft plastic pots are easy to plant in, to empty, and to move about even when they have a full load, but also collapse under the weight, don't hold their shape, and tend to be cheaply made. Ceramic has a classic look and feel to it and is built to last, but breaks more easily and is heavy. Finally, hard plastic is durable and light, giving it the edge. We were surprised to fall in love with the hard plastic pots, but they consistently look good, are light and easy to use with just a touch of elastic bend to them, and we were never worried about breaking them. Ultimately we decided that structurally, hard plastic is superior to ceramic, and ceramic is superior to soft plastic.
The Cyclone 5" Self Watering Pot and the Homenote Plastic Planters were made with hard plastic, and we loved them all the more for it. Whereas the HBServices 8" Self-Watering Pot and the Novelty Full Depth Round Pot are made of soft plastic and are without a doubt the flimsiest of the bunch.
The final category we considered were the extra features. We considered features such as self-watering, drainage plates, beautiful and fun designs, and mesh soil catches.
The Cyclone 5" Self Watering Pot had the most features as it offered a self-watering system, a fertilizer puck, and a nice aesthetic. This planter is an all-in-one package and makes the planting process easy and convenient.
Both the Le Tauci Plant Pots and the Sun-E 2.5-Inch Owl Pots came with mesh circles for the bottom of the pot. This is particularly significant for the Le Tauci Plant Pots because it would be hard to clean between the drainage plate and the pot if dirt were to get through.
The HBServices 8" Self-Watering Pot also offers a self-watering feature. A removable tab is included with the pot to make watering easy. However, it should be noted that it is easy to spill while pouring water into the tab and requires a gentle touch.
Picking a plant pot can be a tricky business. Too often we walk out of stores with a pot simply because it is pretty and then have nowhere to put it. It is important to know the size of the plant you intend on planting and the space you intend on using it in. These products represent a range of possibilities, from outdoor succulent planters to indoor fig tree pots.
— Liv Mertens