Terracotta Pots for Best Effect

These days you’re not limited to one colour of terracotta pot. Use these new colours to create classy and unique displays in the garden or around your home.

Why terracotta?

As we discussed in the Spring issue, terracotta pots have a number of practical benefits for plants: Terracotta pots are able to breathe, allowing air and even moisture to move through the walls, keeping pants healthier and helping to prevent fungal root disease. Plants don’t like sudden changes in temperature, and terracotta pots act as insulation, slowing down variations in temperature. Now that we’ve determined that terracotta pots are definitely the way to go with your potted plants, it’s time to decide which pots to go for and what to plant them in.


We know that ‘terracotta’ is a colour, but that doesn’t mean that you’re limited to terracotta-coloured terracotta plants! Yes, you will no doubt like the classic colour (and they are truly timeless!), but you need to know that even terracotta pots in the timeless, basic shape are now available in three great colours. Importantly, pot saucers are also available in the same colours.

Potting mix

We recommend a basic potting mix of:

  • 4 parts good-quality potting soil
  • 1 part palm peat (soaked in water beforehand)
  • A big handful of pelletised organic plant food (like Atlantic BioOcean)

Prepare the medium in a big bucket so that you’ve got enough for all the pots you’ll be planting up. When planting, place a handful of gravel or stones in the bottom of the pot to ensure good drainage and prevent the drainage holes from becoming blocked. Then fill the pot with potting medium to about 2/3 full, place the plants in the pots and fill up the pots to a few centimetres below the rim.

Types of pots: 

This is for the traditionalists out there, and it’s hard to argue against a colour that has stood the test of time. Terracotta is such a versatile hue that complements so many other colours. It obviously looks incredible when planted up with verdant green foliage like parsley or mint, but it also goes well with flowers of just about any colour.


These pots are immediately identifiable as being terracotta, but their colour is more subtle and gentle, perfect for that spot in the garden where you want to plant to stand out and not the pot.


These lovely pots are a deep, earthy grey tone that goes particularly well with a bright colour or with foliage that also has hints or grey or blue.


Remember that no matter which colour you choose, time and weather will develop the colours and add deep, beautiful patinas. In time the pots become almost as beautiful as the plants.

On display

Pots can disappear in the garden, especially the smaller pots, so it’s sometimes effective to display them on a pot stand for greater effect. Pot stands are particularly useful in small spaces, where you can fit more pots (and therefore plants!) in your limited area. Pot stands or even trellises are also a great way to camouflage a boring or unsightly wall, and there is an extensive range of shapes and sizes available.

The Gardener