Best Garden Pots of 2020
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 a fertilizer puck that needs to be soaked. It's fairly easy to put together, although the instructions could be more clear, and the fertilizer puck expands to just about all the extra soil you will need. Once everything is assembled, the self-watering feature helps keep even your neediest plants low maintenance. This pot also has a nice, clean, and simple aesthetic.
We wish this pot were just a tad bit bigger. Although it is small and cute as it is, 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 anything else.
There isn't a lot of negative things to say about the Homenote Plastic Planters aside from the available sizes. Although there are four different pots, the two largest pots are almost the same size. 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, they are a great deal for four 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 each have their own adorable bamboo drainage plate. We found that the drainage plate is important, particularly in 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 makes them especially limited. Not many plants other than succulents will survive in such a small home. When we were planting succulents in these pots, we noticed that even the 2.5" succulents from the local nursery were bigger than these tiny pots. 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 they are certainly breakable. These pots are decorative pots in appearance and function 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 water is more inclined to spill out, no matter how full it is. The pot is designed so that you water the plant by way of the drainage plate. This means that it is usually full of water. 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, but with six of the little owls, that seems like an awful lot of extra work for something that could easily be mitigated with a drainage plate. Due to this small absence, we felt that this product works best as an outdoor planter. 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 is not the most functional drainage plate we've encountered. 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 while using them as we might want to in our own home. 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 what we look for in a garden pot. We also took into consideration cool features such as self-watering or any particularly nice aesthetics. To test these factors we brought the pots into our own home and saw what it was like to fill them with soil, use the self-watering features, or try to stuff spiky plants into tiny pots. 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 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 would be an inappropriate pot for something like succulents.
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.
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 material each of the pots is made out of. We found that we liked hard plastic over ceramic, and ceramic over soft plastic. Our reasoning is as follows: Hard plastic is superior to soft plastic because it maintains its shape over time, and actually looks better. Hard plastic is also superior to ceramic because it doesn't break as easily and is light. Ceramic works better than soft plastic as a material because it will likely last longer (so long as you don't drop it) and looks the best of all three. Soft plastic was not our favorite because it did not hold its shape well, sometimes making it hard to move the pot once it had been planted. It also looked and felt like the flimsiest of the three materials.
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.
The final category we considered were the extras. We considered features such as self-watering and whatever other little surprises popped up with the pots. In the products we tested, we found the following features: drainage plates, self-watering, included fertilizer, mesh circles to keep the dirt in, and delicate designs.
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.
Each of these products offers something different from the others. Depending on what you are looking for, any of these pots could be right for you. We believe that it is important to know what you are looking for out of a plant. Too often do 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, or if you don't have a great track record with keeping plants alive, maybe you would like to be able to use the pot with different plants. Are you looking to grow vegetables or succulents, and where do you plan on keeping it.
— Liv Mertens