Choose a terracotta pot for your plants

Despite plastic, the terracotta pot is still the best container for the life of plants. Here are the reasons explained, thanks to the advice of expert horticulturists

Anyone who needs to buy a flower pot finds themselves in a dilemma over which type of material to choose for planting their beloved plants. Yes, I know, I'm writing for a garden terracotta blog, so my advice may seem biased, but let me try to motivate the reasons why I say it's better to buy a terracotta pot rather than another type of solution that we can find on the market.

Let's leave the aesthetic aspect aside in this article, which is entirely subjective, although essential for the architectural vision of your spaces, and let's focus on evaluating the objective reasons given by an expert horticulturist as to why a plant lives better in a terracotta pot.

Here's a brief summary of the interview.
The terracotta pot is still the best possible container for a plant's life, despite the various innovative materials available on the market today, which undoubtedly have other undeniable and valid characteristics, such as lightness or impact resistance. But why? What is so special about these heavy and fragile pots? You can't even lean on them a little with the car bumper without breaking them, and you need a trolley and/or a strong person to move them...
The primary reason that should guide us in the choice is that we buy a pot to plant a plant, whether it's decorative or functional, and what's the point if the plant continuously dies in that pot or never looks good?

Given this, our gardener suggests that we buy a traditional terracotta pot for the following reasons:

Clearly, there are some tricks that allow for a decent life, even in a plastic pot, first and foremost the use of very light soils, but your plant will never be free from the risk of overheating.

The terracotta pot forgives cultivation errors, the use of imperfect soil, or excessive irrigation, and protects roots from temperature changes and heat from the sun that can cause severe burns to the root system of your plant. Try putting your hand on a plastic pot exposed to the sun for a long time, like in summer. Does it burn? Well, the roots dwelling in the soil inside also burn just like that.

The terracotta pot is breathable
All of this happens because terracotta is a porous and breathable material, with a thin texture that allows air to pass from the outside without losing too much water. Thanks to its considerable thickness, usually a few centimeters, it also serves as a cavity and protection for roots against frost, temperature fluctuations in general, and excessive solar heat. For this reason, it saves your plants even if you crudely put garden soil in the pot...and for this reason, your grandparents had geraniums that lasted for years and didn't rot every season.

Allows for efficient air/water exchange
When we fill a container with water, it takes the place of air inside the pot and in the soil where the roots reside. Air is lighter and is forced to make room for water. If the container is plastic or made of non-breathable material, the only way to give space to air is for water to flow out of the drainage holes and for the plant to absorb the liquids. During this time, the roots are not breathing, and the longer it takes for the air to return to the substrate, the greater the likelihood that the roots will become ill.

Terracotta is a living material and does not deform
The earthenware, like wood and stone, undergoes atmospheric agents aesthetically, stains and ages naturally and increases its beauty as an architectural element of an evolving environment. A beautiful villa certainly has greater prestige if it has naturally aged terracotta pots in its garden. In addition, unlike plastic, it is not affected by the heat of the sun and does not deform. Often, one of the biggest defects of plastic containers, especially large ones with many kilograms of soil inside, is that over time they crack and deform in an unsightly manner, even cracking due to the inability to contain the internal pressure of weight and roots.

Certainly, there are interior design situations where terracotta is not suitable. We think of the delimitation of urban spaces where cars pass frequently and are likely to replace the pots due to collision damage. In these cases, do not forget to take good care of your plants by relying on an experienced gardener who will use very light soil and appropriate replacement nutrients. Or if you need to place many containers on raised terraces and you are at the limit of the weight (do not forget or underestimate that water and soil are heavy, and perhaps in the end, the terracotta pot is not so decisive).
In all other cases, keep an eye on the plant's health and the environment and four eyes on the aesthetics of your space, and you cannot fail to choose a terracotta pot that represents the best solution.
This is just a fact.