The right indoor plant containers can make or break plants.
That $100 exotic palm from the fancy nursery is going to look tacky in a green plastic pot. But that pair of $10.99 palms from the discount home store will look elegant in modern planters of ceramic or metal.
Indoor plant containers are the botanical equivalent of the basic black dress. And plant containers are the accessories that can dress them up or dress them down.
But before we start accessorizing, let's talk about the basic requirements of a plant container: It must be large enough to stabilize and nourish the plant; it must protect your floor from dirt and moisture; and it must provide adequate drainage for the plant.
Generally, taller plants need large planters. This is both an aesthetic and a physical requirement. A tall plant needs a large base to stabilize it; plus it would look weird in a tiny pot.
You can often repot your new plant in a plant container one to two inches larger in diameter than the one it came in.
Do not go any larger, or the plant could get root rot as the excess soil will hold too much moisture for the roots to absorb.
If the plant still looks too large aesthetically for the pot, simply set the pot inside a larger decorative pot.
However, you don't want it draining onto your cherry hardwood floor. If the pot you love has no drainage holes, fake it.
Put the plant in a smaller, plastic container with drainage holes, then set the plant in the hole-less container.
Cover the top of the pots with sphagnum moss and no one can tell the ugly container is there. And, of course, if your container does have drainage holes, you must have a saucer underneath.
Do not cover the drainage holes with gravel. If you're concerned about the soil coming out, cover the holes with a coffee filter. But this is usually not a problem.
Containers come in many types of materials: clay, ceramic, plastic, wicker. Choose the materials that best complement your decor. Here's a brief look at options:
Pots can be reused but do take the precaution of cleaning it thoroughly first to remove any resident bacteria. Scrub the pot with a solution of one part bleach to 9 parts water. Then rinse thoroughly.
Don't be timid. Any container can contain a plant so don't be afraid to experiment. I've seen plants in copper watering cans, teapots, antique wash bowls. Use the pot within a pot method and you can switch containers every week if you like.