Best Planters of 2020
The Rivet Mid-Century Ceramic scores top marks in the aesthetics category and for good reason. We loved the two-toned glaze and the understated metal stand. Additionally, its traditional cylindrical shape will fit most home decors and the neutral color options will fit almost any color palette. The ceramic material and glaze are high quality and the stand is sturdy. Setup is as easy as placing the planter on the stand after it is planted. The shape of this design also makes filling and planting easy, and leaves your plant with plenty of volume to grow if you're sizing up.
While we loved the look and design of the Rivet, we aren't without critique. One main drawback is the lack of a drainage option in combination with the glazed finish. A glazed finish on the inside means that it will retain moisture more than unfinished ceramic or a similar material. Combined with the lack of a drain hole or option to drill one, this creates careful watering conditions as over-watering is not easily corrected, making it better suited for more experienced plant owners. The Rivet Mid-Century stand is also only three pronged, so while stylish, it isn't as stable as some four-legged models if bumped, although it would take a significant knock to topple this model. In summary, if you're looking to invest in a classic home decor piece this is the most stylish model of the bunch and will match your home for years to come.
Sometimes, simple is best, and the Fox and Fern Plant Pot nails this avenue. While basic, the white cylindrical design has the high quality and classy look of ceramic or stoneware but weighs much less. This pot also has durable drainage plug that creates soil condition options. The cylindrical shape creates volume for root development and the wide base creates an extremely stable platform able to accommodate tall, top-heavy plants. We tested the 10-inch size, but there are other size options. With a flat bottom, this model is ready to be placed into a stand, too, although it must be purchased separately.
One of the few drawbacks of this design is also how basic it is. While the design will match almost any decor, it also does not stand out among our options for its uniqueness or particularly beautiful design. It's clean, but it's not quirky. This is the kind of pot that let's the inhabiting plant do the talking. Additionally, if you are going to use this with the drainage option, you will need to move the plant to water it or provide your own drainage tray, an extra step that would be alleviated with the inclusion of a drainage tray. If you are seeking a universally pleasing design that will fit many design and plant types, the Fox and Fern Pot is for you.
If you have many large plants, or you just don't want to break the bank for your planting needs, the Classic Home and Garden Honeysuckle Pot is an excellent option. There are multiple color options for this pot and it is made of a lightweight, sturdy resin, making large plantings more easily moved if needed. The resin is painted with a scratch-resistant coating and a UV protectant that is meant to prevent fading in the sun. The added value of this option also make it easy to create many plantings or try one of the many colors it is available in. This model also has the option to drill drainage holes if you desire.
While value is one of the winning factors of this option, the Honeysuckle Pot also leaves something to be desired in its appearance. The painted resin leads to a look that is best suited for a casual or an outdoor space. The lightweight resin combined with the slightly wider top can lead to a top heavy planting. These small critiques aside, this model is adequate and affordable, especially if you need to plant several large plants.
The Potey Mid Century Ceramic is our pick for a planter that will fit on a countertop, shelf, or desk due to its medium size and included wooden stand. The neutral white color and unfinished wooden stand are a classic design that will fit many different styles. The understated pattern printed into the ceramic adds a touch of uniqueness and creates a higher quality appearance. The pot also includes a drainage plug to help maintain the proper soil moisture for different kinds of plants. The included stand is also easy to assemble and the cylindrical shape is easy to plant.
We really liked the design and ease of use of this model, but wished it had a drainage tray. The stand allows for space to add your own small drainage tray, but it takes away from the minimal mid-century look. If there were a drainage tray incorporated into the design this criticism would be solved. Additionally, the glaze combined with a single drainage hole does lead to a tendency for the soil to maintain moisture. Overall, the Potey Mid Century Ceramic is a great medium sized pick that will fit many types of plants and styles.
If you are someone who has trouble sticking to a watering schedule and consistently finds their plants drying up, we have a solution for you. The Lechuza Classico has a simple and classic shape, and its self-watering feature functions efficiently. This medium-sized planter is made of high quality plastic with good flex. It also includes all of the materials needed to set up and effective self-watering system: a meter, drainage rocks and a reservoir for the bottom of the pot. The reservoir meter is low profile, but easy to read and lets you know when you need to refill. Over the course of testing, the golden pothos planted in this option is thriving. The self-watering function also means that there is no watering mess or drainage issues.
The main critiques here are mainly related to the watering system. While effective and intuitive once set up, the setting up of the system is tricky, and we found the provided instructions hard to follow. The water gauge and the reservoir also were made of a more brittle plastic than the rest of the pot and seemed like it had a strong potential to break. The self-watering feature also means that this design is best suited for plants who prefer consistently moist soil, making it less versatile than some others. Generally, however, the watering system is well designed and this is a great option for those who would prefer a low-maintenance planting option.
We tested a number of small sets and the Mkono Mini Glass Geometric Terrarium Set came out on top. The gold and glass design fits a mid-century modern aesthetic, and easily blended into our desktops, countertops, windowsills, and shelf spaces seamlessly. The terrarium style helps to keep the plants warmer if placed in sun, so this may be a good option if your space tends to get a little drafty but you have good sunlight. This also made these the best option for a succulent or air plant planting, as they display the warm-weather and low moisture plants spectacularly.
This set is well-suited for succulents. This being said, it is certainly not the most versatile planting set. The lack of drainage and the interesting shape of these makes them best suited for plants such as succulents and air plants that do not have a large, established root system. Their shape also makes them difficult to plant flora without damaging the plants you are using. Once set up with the proper plants, the Mkono Terrarium Set is a lovely way to display your favorite small, slow-growing succulents.
The Umbra Trigg Desktop pair is another good option for a sleek mid-century modern tabletop look. The pyramid-shaped pots are a unique shape, and the gold-colored stand against the black ceramic strikes us as of solid quality. The Umbra requires no setup other than placing the upside-down pyramids into their stands. The streamlined look makes this a stylish and versatile option for small tabletop plantings. Being tall, this pair provides significant decor without taking up much table or shelf space.
Where this set scored points for its unique pyramid design, it also lost a few in its stability and functionality. The narrow metal base was easy to knock over, so it's not the best choice for a home with curious pets or children. The pyramid shape also does not leave a lot of room for root systems to expand and grow, making it better suited for slow-growing plants. The Umbra Trigg Desktop is a good option for those looking for a unique and stylish plant accent.
The La Jolie Muse Hanging Pot Set performed well across the board. It has a basic design with molded plastic that is textured and colored to look like stone. The rope that hangs the pot seems sturdy, having no problem holding the soil and plants we placed in them, and the construction is consistent across the two-pack. There is ample drainage and the three point hanging system is stable. The bowl shape leaves ample room for plants to grow or to create a multiple plant array.
The main point of suspicion for this model was at the connection points between the rope and the pot. The rope has thin metal cuffs holding it threaded into the pot, and this seems to us to be the most likely spot for the construction to fail. The positive of this thin connection was that the hanging portion could be easily removed if desired. The La Jolie Muse also did not come with the necessary hardware to hang it, which would have been a nice convenience. While the style is quite basic and casual, the La Jolie Muse Hanging Pot Set has the potential to fit a large range of plant sizes and types in indoor or outdoor spaces.
If your style includes a little more pattern and flair, the Dsben 3.2" Ceramic Planter Set is a good option for your succulent planting. There are several pattern options, and the black printed pattern makes a statement in your space. The cylindrical design is easy to plant, and the pots include a top that doubles as a drainage tray. The set is stable and fits well on a windowsill or countertop.
With its patterns and small size, this set is not the most versatile of the bunch. Additionally, there were a few imperfections in the print that were noticeable upon closer inspection on the model we received. While we pinned this as another option for your succulent planting, with its patterns, drainage and shape the Dsben would be a good fun option for many types of small plantings that you might have in mind.
The Gift Republic Magnetic Concrete 3-Pack is adorable and received many compliments during the testing process. These little magnetic planters allow you to add a little life to your fridge or any metal object you would like. The construction is sturdy and the concrete design resistant to wear if knocked off the magnetic surface. The magnets are also strong and work well, leading to good stability. The simple gray coloring will match most any decor and planting that you can fit.
When it comes to this set, the key is finding a plant that will actually fit in it. The small, cute size of these was also their greatest fault. The opening diameter is less than 1" wide, making them only suited for the smallest succulents and air plants. This also means that there is hardly any room for a root system to develop and watering or fertilizing such a small space is extremely difficult. Overall, this set is only suited for the smallest plantings, but makes a very sweet little set.
We all remember seeing the "ch-ch-ch-chia" commercial as kids, and our testers strongly believe that this product line has not gotten any less fun. We tested the Chia T Pet Dino for this selection. The terracotta dinosaur is well designed and the instructions are easy to follow. Once set up the chia pet is easy to maintain.
We ran into a little bit of difficulty when initially planting the chia pet. We found that the success of getting the chia seed gel paste to the dinosaur was directly related to using the exact ratio of water to seeds that the instructions call for. If this is not followed closely the application of the seeds is difficult and creates a patchy result. Another challenge was topping off the water in the reservoir without overflowing, and children may need help with this step. These challenges aside, this is a fun project to do with kids separately or while you plant your own project.
The Bloem Ariana Self-Watering pot was not a stand-out in any category, but it is functional at a good value. This model comes in many different color options and has a simple and straightforward design. The self-watering feature comes built-in and requires no additional set up. There is also the option to puncture holes for drainage, but that eliminates the self-watering function.
The basic design of this pot fell short in a few areas during our hands-on experience. The quality of the material seems low, as the thin plastic feels brittle and doesn't give us confidence in its longevity. The style is also not unique as it looks like a basic bulk option you might find at your local garden store. In addition to these aesthetic criticisms, the self-watering feature does not include any way to measure the amount of water remaining in the reservoir, making it susceptible to overwatering. If you are looking for a self-watering pot at a fair value, and are not too particular about style or design, the Bloem Ariana Self Watering works.
The Classic Home and Garden 9" Whiskey Barrel is a good value if your style is not super specific or you have an outdoor space that you need to fill with many lightweight planters. It has ample drainage, thick enough plastic at the base for good stability and a slightly wider top to make for easier planting. There is also plenty of space for root system development.
While this option meets many basic needs, it leaves something to be desired in the aesthetics department. For the whiskey barrel aesthetic, you get what you pay for. From afar it may not stand out, but up close the printed plastic is obvious and the material is pretty flimsy. The Classic Home and Garden Whiskey Barrel is also only suited for specific rustic designs or a very casual outdoor space, in our opinion. Overall, however, this option can check a few boxes if you need many plants potted in your outdoor space and have a smaller budget.
Why You Should Trust Us
Jackie Kearney, our lead tester, works long days both as a landscaper for a ranch and on a vegetable farm in Telluride, CO. This experience and lifestyle mean she is passionate about plants and creating a thriving life for them. After spending years creating healthy homes for plants, she knows there is nothing better than seeing those plants take off in your own home. She's spent weeks surrounded by these planters and planting them with many varieties of house plants.
To find the best models for varying needs, our editorial team and lead tester extensively researched the best options available. We selected a wide range of styles and sizes and tested them head to head. This involved planting each model or set with what we thought would do well in that style. This was followed by caring for these plants, watering and pruning them as needed. After growing attached to these plants in our homes, we are confident our assessment and experience with them are extremely thorough.
Analysis and Test Results
Choosing the right planter can easily nourish your plants and provide a significant improvement to the style of your home. Our selection of top products are scored on the aesthetics, quality, functionality, maintenance and versatility they provide.
For this category, we consider the general look of each product and how that could be incorporated into our homes and the homes of our friends and family. We considered how unique the design is, as well as how versatile it is to fit a variety of home decor styles. Ceramic, fiberstone, and glass models generally scored higher in this metric than their plastic counterparts, including the plastic models that are styled and designed to look like stone or ceramic.
The Rivet Mid-Century scoresd the highest in this category for its high end but versatile appearance and materials. This was closely followed by the Fox and Fern Pot, which scored high in this category for its simple and sleek appearance that lets the plant itself be the center of attention. The Potey Mid-Century Ceramic also scored well with its subtle pattern and understated stand. We found that the most unique and stand-out styles often come in the form of the smaller models. We love the modern look of the Umbra Trigg black-on-gold planters, and feel that the glass terrariums of the Mkono set provides the most stylish way to display our small succulents.
Those that did not do as well in this category were those that we deemed to have a more specific style or casual application. For example, the La Jolie Muse Hanging Pot Set and the Bloem Ariana pot both left something to be desired in their basic style and materials. Additionally, models such as the Classic Home and Garden with printed materials that did not quite meet a passing standard for what they were meant to look like, i.e. its plastic painted like a barrel, fell short here.
Quality of Design and Materials
When assessing quality, we examined the materials and construction of each option extensively. We know you want the plant to tell you when it's ready to be moved, not its pot.
The Rivet Mid-Century again receives top marks in this category due to its high quality ceramic construction and durable metal stand. The Fox and Fern scores highest among non-ceramic options with its sturdy and lightweight fiberstone material, which looks similar to cement while weighing much less. The Potey Mid-Century Ceramic has a high quality and thoughtfully designed wooden stand, and high quality ceramic. The more value-based options did not score as well here. Notably the Bloem Ariana pot appeared to made of thin and somewhat brittle plastic, leading to doubts about its durability. The Classic Home and Garden Whiskey Barrel also did not do so well here, as its paint was obvious on close inspection and the durability of its flimsy plastic was questionable.
How well does the planter work? To determine this, we considered how easy it was to set up and fill with plants, whether it came with necessary hardware, as well as if it had any additional features such as self-watering. This category also included stability.
The Fox and Fern has some of the highest marks in this category, as it required no set up, its drainage system was straightforward and easy to use and it is extremely stable. The Potey Mid Century Ceramic also did well here, as it came with an easy to use and stable stand. We also like the low maintenance of the self-watering feature on the Lechuza Classico model we tested, although it was a pain to set up initially, which we found worth the effort in the end. While value options such as Classic Home and Garden Whiskey Barrel may have fell short in looks and materials, they still scored highly here with their basic shape and adequate drainage. On the other hand, options such as the Mkono Mini Glass Terrarium and the Gift Republic Magnetic Concrete sets did not do well, as they were difficult to plant and hard to use due to their tiny size.
We want to take into account how the design of each product would affect the maintenance of your house plants. The Fox and Fern again ranks highly here in this category with its removable drainage plug and its lightweight design that makes moving your plant to better light and conditions easy. The Lechuza Classico was a close second with its easy to operate self-watering system that allows you to gauge the amount of water left in the reservoir with just a glance. Contrarily, small, oddly shaped options such as the Mkono and Gift Republic sets did not do well here. Their size and shape greatly increases the difficulty of creating and maintaining plantings.
How many uses does each product have in terms of what can be planted in it and where the it can find a home in the house? The answers to these questions are related to the materials and design. Note that many of the models we tested come in various sizes, so you can get the size that matches the plants you wish to plant.
Classic designs and neutral color combinations such as the Lechuza Classico and Fox and Fern scored well in this category as they both have the potential to match many decors and maintain several different soil conditions with their materials and drainage systems. The La Jolie Muse Hanging Pot set also scored high with its ability to host many types of plants. Again, the smaller sets such as the Gift Republic, Mkono and the Chia Pet did not score as well due to their plant and design specificity. Similarly, the Classic Home and Garden Whiskey Barrel was a low performer here with it's limited decor value. The faux barrel looks was very specific to an outdoor or casual design.
Through extensive research and thorough side-by-side testing, we assessed a wide range of planters with the hope to help you find the right one for you, your home, and your plants' needs. Using professional and personal experience, we developed an involved examination process and rubric to determine the top and bottom contenders for each metric. With our homes covered in plants we were able to identify the best and worst qualities of each product through a rigorous evaluation. We hope that this will allow you to make an informed decision and liven up your home with the right planter for your style and budget.
— Jackie Kearney