Tips for Choosing a Planter for Indoor Plants

If you’re a plant parent (or an aspiring one), finding the best planter for your greenery is a must. Whether you have a small houseplant or a tall leafy tree, choosing the right planter for your indoor plants will make all the difference in their growth, health, and lushness.

There are some key considerations when shopping for indoor planters. Style is a huge part, but you’ll also want to factor in planter size, what it’s made of, and if it has drainage holes.

To help you pick the best indoor planters, read on for our tips on what to look for, then check out our stylists’ favorite planter picks!

Not sure how to work in more plants in your home? Check out our tips on how to style indoor plants and our houseplant care guide!

What To Look For In A Planter

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Consider Material

Indoor planters are made in many different materials, and they can have an impact on the health of your plants.

For instance, a wood plant pot is porous so it provides better drainage and is also resistant to rusting from water, which means they’re a great option, especially for indoor-outdoor spaces.

If you have indoor plants that need to be watered a lot, try a metal or plastic planter since they won’t absorb the water (unlike wood) and will keep the plant and soil moist. A small metal plant pot in brass or silver can also be great if you have mini faux plants that don’t require any real maintenance. The metal will make the plants appear extra lush.

For those looking for an easy planter that’s stylish AND practical, you can’t go wrong with a stone or ceramic design. They’re all-weather, so they can be used indoors or out, and they have a sculptural appeal that will give your houseplant an extra-vibrant look.

Pick Your Style

Planters come in every shape and style, so you’ll want to choose designs that blend in with your space. Outdoor planters tend to be bigger and more rugged, while indoor ones are smaller with a wider style variety.

If your taste is more modern and contemporary, try metal and ceramic planters for their clean-lined look. If your space is more rustic and boho, consider wood and stone planters that bring in a natural element and an organic touch. You want to pick indoor planters that go with the overall vibe and look of your room, so take your time to decide on the color, shape, and details that work for you.

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Look For Drainage Holes

The most important detail to consider, drainage holes are essential for healthy indoor plants. A pot that has lots of drainage holes is great for plants that need a ton of watering, but it might dry out other plants that thrive in soil that’s on the drier side; you’ll want a plant pot that has one draining hole to keep in moisture for those. Likewise, if you have a plant that requires lots of watering, avoid single drainage hole planters—they’ll clog the roots and end up drowning your plant with “overwatering.”

Also good to note: If a planter doesn’t come with holes (and you can’t drill them yourself), then it’s meant to be a decorative holder for either greenery that’s already in a plastic planter that can be placed inside of it or faux plants.

Size Matters

Pro Tip: Plants grow bigger and taller when they’re potted in slightly bigger planters than the plastic ones they come in. It’s always a good idea to switch newly purchased plants out of their plastic holders once they’ve grown to a fixed size and repot them into slightly larger planters to help them grow more.

That means you should always take root size into consideration along with how much soil and/or rocks you’ll be filling your planters with. Look for indoor planters that are big enough so that the roots of your plants can grow deep.

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Don’t Forget The Details

Some other elements to keep in mind when shopping for indoor planters are the type of soil and the appropriate amount you need, whether drainage rocks or pebbles are a good idea for your type of plant, and if a plaster tray is what you need (they can prevent leakage but can also end up collecting water and drowning some plants).

When it comes to these details that vary from plant to plant, we suggest making a trip to your local nursery or plant store and asking an expert. Experienced plant parents are always happy to help other plant lovers!

Shop Our Stylists’ Picks For Best Indoor Planters!

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Houseplants Care 101: A Guide to Choosing and Caring for Your Indoor Plants

Raise your hand if you love a good house plant! We sure do! They add so much life to your space—not to mention color and texture. And we’ve waxed poetic more than once about the health benefits of houseplants. (Cleaner oxygen! Boosted moods!)

But as people who have killed more than our fair share of house plants, we know it’s not always a rosy outlook. Some plants are very finicky or downright difficult to care for. Even the easiest-to-care-for plants need the right light and environment and a solid watering schedule. And this might leave you wondering—are indoor plants worth the work? We say: yes. If you’re not convinced, we dare you to keep reading our indoor plant care guide and discover the best house plants for your lifestyle and your level of plant expertise!

Looking for some new furniture to go with your new plants? Our expert designers are ready to help! See designs come to life in your exact room in 3D with real furniture you can shop on the spot!

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What Kind of Plants Should I Get?

The plants you choose depend on a couple of factors:

  • Do you have kids or pets? (Some plants are toxic if ingested!)
  • What lighting levels do you have in your home?
  • What space are you trying to fill—big or small?
  • How good are you at keeping plants alive?

Each of these variables impacts what house plants you should bring into your home. To help break it down, we’ve divided some of the most popular indoor plants into three categories, from easiest to care for to the most needy of the bunch!

Level 1 Plants: Easiest to Care For

What we’re calling “Level 1 Plants” are the plants that are easiest to care for. These are the ones that can go weeks without water and not drop a leaf. (And they can handle some overwatering, too.) They’re able to battle through bad soil conditions, poor lighting, are more resilient to pests, and can tolerate neglect. Think of these as your “set it and forget it” plants.

Spider Plants: Spider plants are highly adaptable and can grow in a range of conditions. Their arching leaves give them a graceful look and make them perfect hanging plants. They thrive when planted in well-drained soil and sitting in bright, indirect sunlight. Spider plants occasionally flower, producing babies or “spiderettes” which makes them easy to propagate. Spider plants are non-toxic and safe for humans, dogs, and cats.

Succulents: Succulents are a group of plants that are characterized by storing water in their leaves—resulting in leaves that are thick and fleshy. There are many different types of succulents out there, but in general they thrive in dry climates and don’t like too much humidity. This means they can handle infrequent watering. However, make sure you plant them in a pot with a drainage hole, as succulent roots that sit in water for too long will begin to rot, and will ultimately kill the plant.

Snake Plant: Sometimes called “Mother-in-Law Tongue,” snake plants are a fan favorite. With coloring ranging from light yellow-green to a variegated dark green, we love the architectural shape of these hearty plants. Put a snake plant in indirect sunlight, and let the soil dry out between waterings. Snake plants are mildly toxic to humans and pets and can cause mouth and stomach irritation if ingested.

ZZ Plant: Known for your ability to kill off even the heartiest of plants? Then a ZZ Plant might be for you. It’s said that these plants are virtually indestructible; they can withstand months of neglect and low light and still look wonderful. However, they do best in moderate to bright indirect light. Let soil thoroughly dry out between waterings—because the one way you can kill this plant is by overwatering. ZZ Plants are mildly toxic to humans and pets and can cause stomach irritation if ingested.

Pothos: The trailing vines of a pothos plant can add a lot of visual interest to your home—whether it’s potted in a hanging planter, or set on a shelf with the tendrils trailing downward. They do well in bright, indirect light and nutrient-rich soil—but they handle low light and nutrient-poor soil with aplomb. And, in fact, they can survive without soil at all! They can be grown in water, and happily stay alive, untouched, simply sitting in a vase. Pothos is mildly toxic to humans and pets and can cause stomach irritation if ingested.

Level 2 Plants: Require a Bit More Attention

These plants are a bit more sensitive than their Level 1 counterparts, and they require a bit more attention. But they’re not so sensitive that they’ll keel over after one missed watering session!

Broadleaf Ferns: Broadleaf ferns are distinct from the more common leatherleaf or Boston ferns in that their leaves are undivided rather than compounded. So, their name literally comes from their broader leaves. Ferns are generally low-maintenance houseplants. But they do require a more specific environment. Since ferns originate in dense, shady woodlands, they need lower light and plenty of humidity. Mist your fern daily and keep it out of direct sunlight to keep it happy!

Philodendron: Philodendrons are a type of plant that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes (nearly 500 species!). They can range from tall, tree-like plants to small, vining varieties. We love the fact that a philodendron readily adapts to new conditions and will tell you exactly what it needs. (Droopy? It needs water! Leaves yellowing? It’s getting too much light!) With simple adjustments, these houseplants will stay happy for a long time. Place philodendrons in bright, indirect sunlight and allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. And keep out of reach of kids and pets, as philodendron leaves are toxic when ingested, causing swelling in the mouth, upset stomach, and vomiting.

Dieffenbachia: Dieffenbachia plants have beautifully variegated leaves, making them a lovely decoration in your home. They’re fairly adaptable to different environments—but they’re sensitive to overwatering. Keep their soil moist but not soggy, and allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. They like filtered light best, and require being rotated regularly so that all sides of the plant receive adequate sunlight.

Fittonia: This compact plant has striking patterning on its leaves, often with pink veining. Fittonia plants prefer bright, indirect light and like to be kept moist. While average household humidity is generally fine, these plants like it on the humid side—so regular misting will keep them very happy. Bonus: fittonia is non-toxic and pet-friendly!

Level 3 Plants: Needy But Beautiful

Ready for a challenge? These plants make a beautiful statement in your home—but they definitely require some babying. They’re very sensitive to over or under-watering and some need a lot of humidity. And they absolutely won’t tolerate incorrect lighting conditions, the wrong type of soil, pests, or any other adverse conditions. But don’t let that neediness scare you! These beauties are worth the work.

Calathea: Known for their bold, patterned leaves, calathea are unique in that their leaves fold up slightly at night, revealing a beautifully colored underside. They do best with medium to low indirect light, and they like when their soil is kept moist but not saturated. You should also mist it regularly, as these plants appreciate some extra humidity. Calathea are also non-toxic and pet-friendly.

Fiddle Leaf Fig: Fiddle leaf figs get their name from their large, violin-shaped leaves, which can make quite a statement in your home. They grow best when exposed to consistent, bright, filtered sunlight. You’ll want to turn the plant every few months, as fiddle leaf figs are prone to leaning toward sunlight. Let these plants dry out between waterings, then really drench them when you do water them. It’s good to keep them in pots with a drain hole so that you can water them to the point that it drains to the saucer. And since these plants are native to the tropics, they like regular meetings to keep the humidity levels up. Fiddle leaf figs are mildly toxic to humans and pets and can cause mouth and stomach irritation if ingested.

Alocasia: Alocasia plants can grow quite tall—up to 8-10 feet! Their height, combined with their arrow-head shaped leaves and tall stems makes quite a statement in your home. They thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. Just make sure it’s not direct, as their leaves will burn; conversely, they also can’t handle a dark corner. Alocasia is fairly tolerant if you forget to water them, but they prefer to be kept damp. And they love extra humidity—so make sure to mist them regularly, and you could even consider keeping a humidifier nearby! (They also love to live in bathrooms, where humidity is higher!) Alocasia is mildly toxic to humans and pets and can cause mouth and stomach irritation if ingested.

Bird of Paradise: Considered the queen of indoor plants, birds of paradise add a tropical flair to your home. These large, upright plants can adapt to a wide variety of lighting conditions, but they especially thrive in the sunny corners of your home, with the ability to handle direct sunlight. Keep this plant on the drier side, and especially make sure that its roots aren’t sitting in wet soil. Occasionally misting these plants will keep their dark, glossy leaves looking great. Bird of paradise plants are mildly toxic and can cause stomach irritation to humans and pets if ingested.

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What supplies do you need when caring for plants?

Ready to bring home a new indoor plant (or five)? Just like bringing home a pet, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared with the right supplies for proper houseplant care! Here’s what you need.

  • Pots: You can’t plant a houseplant without a pot! There are a ton of beautiful plant pots out there, but you don’t need anything fancy. Just be aware of if your plant needs well-drained soil, as this requires a planter with a drain hole and tray.
  • Soil: Make sure you buy potting soil that specifically suits the plant you’re potting. (Desert plants will want a “cactus mix,” others can tolerate an all-purpose potting soil.)
  • Watering Can and Mister: A watering can makes watering your plants easier because of their long, slender spouts. But plants don’t just want water in their soil—they love a nice mist on their leaves, too!
  • Fertilizer: Fertilizing your plants is a way to introduce nutrients into the soil. Think of it like taking vitamins, but for your plant!
  • Pest Control: Unfortunately, with house plants, pests are inevitable at some point. Be prepared for any outbreaks of mealybugs, spider mites, or scale with the proper pest control.
  • Clippers: Regular pruning helps keep your plants happy and healthy. Invest in some clippers rather than using household scissors, as you’ll get a cleaner cut. Bonus: These are also great for trimming the ends of fresh flowers!

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Common Houseplant Pitfalls

Of course, even with the easiest and most low-maintenance plants you’ll encounter some pitfalls. (And certainly with the needy varieties!) Whether it’s the wrong amount of water or lighting, some sneaky little pests, or a pot that’s too small, little shifts can dramatically improve the quality of life of your plants!

  • Overwatering or underwatering: Many plans come with basic watering instructions. But you can always do a quick Google search to find out what your type of plant needs!
  • Incorrect lighting conditions: Some plants can’t handle direct sunlight; others crave it. The right lighting conditions will make a big difference. This is another case of Google being your friend to figure out what your plant needs!
  • Root binding: As plants grow, sometimes they outgrow their planters to a point that they become root bound, with their roots densely packed within the planter. This can be detrimental long-term—but a simple upgrade to a larger plant pot can easily improve its outlook. Just try to untangle and loosen up the roots before transferring it to fresh soil and a new pot.
  • Dry air or conditions that are too hot or too cold: Some plants are very particular about their conditions. They may need slightly warmer and more humid conditions, while others can happily thrive in cooler or drier conditions. Figure out what your plant needs and make simple adjustments to their environment.
  • Pests, disease, and nutrient deficiencies: Mealybugs, scale, spider mites, fungus, mold, rot. Who knew so many gross things could grow alongside your plant?? Regular observances of your plants during your watering routine will help you quickly notice abnormalities or pests and allow you to deal with them quickly and more easily.

Overwhelmed by all that can go wrong with plants? If you want to avoid these pitfalls and the risk of dead plants, you can always opt for faux plants instead! While they won’t help clean your air, they’re certainly more low-maintenance than their live counterparts—one of the many benefits of faux plants.

real houseplant

Additional Houseplant Care Tips & Tricks:

  • Create a watering schedule so that you never forget to water your plants.
  • Rotate your plants around your home once a month to switch up the angle from which they receive sunlight.
  • Every plant varies in how often they need to be fertilized—but in general, fertilize your plants approximately once a month during their flowering or growth phases to continue bringing nutrients into the soil. You can skip fertilizing in the winter, though, when many plants go dormant.
  • Keep your plants clean by periodically dusting or wiping down leaves with a damp cloth. If they get too dusty, it impedes their ability to take in sunlight and photosynthesize!
  • Don’t forget to prune your houseplants to get rid of any dead leaves or unwanted growth.
  • Finally, learn how to style indoor plants and integrate your plants into your home’s decor!

Bring the Outside In: 5 Simple Ways to Decorate With Plants

decorate with plantsSpring has sprung! That means it’s time to peel back those layers (of blankets, pillows, and rugs) and refresh your home for warmer weather.

The easiest way to kick off the new season and reboot your home? Bring in some (or lots) of greenery to liven up your spaces. Read on for some simple, fun, and totally refreshing ways to add greenery and decorate with plants in your home.

decorate with plants1. Liven Up Dead Corners

You know that one corner in your home where nothing else fits? Fill it up with a clusters of potted greenery, plants, and trees. Combine different greenery in varying heights to give the corner new life and depth.

Take it one step further and arrange mini clusters of smaller plants on floating shelves and as coffee table centerpieces. There’s power in numbers!

Stylist Tip: Opt for plants of different shapes and sizes to create some visual texture and keep your space feeling dynamic.

decorate with plants2. Try Hanging Plants to Save Floor Space

Hang a planter of leafy greenery in practical work spaces, like your office, to add a little life to your every day routine. It’s an easy way to bring a vibrant touch to a functional space. The same can be said for the kitchen, where a few hanging planters instantly lift the mood!

This is also a great way to work greenery in to small homes where floor space is limited.

Stylist Tip: When it comes to hanging greenery, choose a leafy trailing one, like a philodendron. They’re relatively low-maintenance as long as they get enough sunlight by a window and they grow out and downward in a really pretty way.

decorate with plants3. Make Old Spaces Feel New

Adding greenery is the best way to refresh your living areas for spring and bring the outdoors in. It’s also a lot less expensive than buying new furnishings if you’re on a budget.

Spread out a range of different plants and trees in your common areas to create a welcoming atmosphere and to ring in the new season.

Stylist Tip: Already have a few plants in your home? Just like other pieces of decor, plants can work in any room of your home. Go ahead and mix up where you display them from time to time. It’s a free way to make your space feel fresh and new!

decorate with plants4. Bring in Fresh Air

Go for a plant or two (or three) in the bedroom as a way to freshen up the air and the space. Not to mention, it adds a little life and lushness.

Try a big leafy plant that requires little watering in the corner or couple of hanging planters by the window as lively touches to start.

Stylist Tip: Make your bedroom extra calming and add a small lavender plant.

decorate with plants5. Spruce Up Neutral Spaces

If you’re not a fan of brightly colored furniture and decor, decorate with plants to punch up neutral spaces. They’ll add a nice pop of green and a soothing vibe without feeling overwhelming.

Stylist Tip: If you’re looking for something super simple, consider starting with a few leafy branches of greenery in tall vase. Then when you’re ready bring in other smaller plants in matching vases.

Ready to see some new decor ideas in your space?