How to Pick a Planter to Make Your Plant Look Amazing

plants in a living room

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It would be great if people told you that after you’ve picked the perfect plant, you also have to find the perfect planter. When you purchase a plant, they come in little nursery pots. They’re basic, plastic pots that your plant has been growing in for a while. And they’re not cute.

Instead you’ll want to find yourself a planter that you can either repot your plant in or pop your nursery pot into (but only if the plant hasn't outgrown the nursery pot). But where do you start? Picking a planter can be a bit tough because there are a number of things to consider — how big it is, what it’s made out of, the color, and the list goes on and on. We spoke with Erin Marino, the lead editorial director at The Sill, to find out how to pick a planter that will make your plant look amazing. 

Make Sure It’s The Correct Size


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“When we talk about the size of a plant or planter, we are usually referring to the diameter of the planter or of the plant's pot. For example, a 6-inch fiddle feaf fig is most likely a fiddle leaf fig in a pot with a 6-inch diameter,” says Marino. “This is important to know when picking a new planter for your plant, especially if you do not have both the plant and planter in front of you.” Choose a size that’s no more than 2 inches larger in diameter if you’re going to be putting your planter on a table or shelf. If it’s going to be on the floor, it can be a little bit larger. 

“The size of your plant's new home is important because the larger the planter, the more water we tend to give it. The chances of overwatering your plant increase significantly,” explains Marino. “You do not want your plant to be swimming in soil, but rather, have a little breathing room.” If you know you’re not going to actually repot the plant, it’s okay if the planter is bigger than necessary as the plant will still be in the correct size nursing pot. 

Figure Out What Silhouette You Want

wicker planter

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“Short, shallow planters are great for small succulents with even smaller root systems,” says Marino.  “Not only do they help you from overwatering your succulents, but they allow the petite plants to take center stage.” Think about it — you want the beautiful foliage of a succulent to shine, so it’s okay to use a shallow planter so you can really look at your plant. “Larger, deeper planters are great for grounding big tropical plants,” notes Marino. “If your plant is large in width but on the shorter side — say, for example, a snake plant (in comparison to a tall fiddle leaf fig tree) — consider adding a stand to your planter to give the plant a little extra height.”

Plant stands are especially helpful when you have a large collection. It allows you to group your plants and makes them look more interesting than if they were all at the same height. 

Pick a Planter That Pairs Well Aesthetically

ceramic planter

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While there are always going to be technical things to consider, you also want your plant and planter to look good together. “If your plant has multi-colored or patterned foliage, choosing a neutral planter like terracotta or cream ceramic will let the plant pop. If your plant is green and leafy, a planter in an accent color(s) will bring it to life,” says Marino. Terracotta and cream planters match most decors and accent colors add a lovely pop of color or texture to your home. “Or perhaps your plant is mostly green but has a hint of another color (like the red edges of Dracaena marginata) — consider that color for the planter to help draw it out in the foliage,” suggests Marino. There are so many ways to really make the foliage of your plant pop, and a planter adds a bit of personality that a basic nursery pot just isn’t able to. 

Choose a Finish That Works Well For Your Plant


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Creating contrasts between your plant and its planter is another great way to make your plant look amazing. “If your plant has thick glossy leaves, like that of a rubber tree, opt for a contrasting matte finish for the planter. Or if the leaves aren't glossy, like those of a ficus audrey, a glossy cream planter may be a nice complement,” says Marino.

Whatever you decide, make sure you’re choosing a planter because you love it. You’ll be the one looking at it all of the time, so it’s important you’re drawn to it and it looks great in your space.