Difference Between Terracotta Plant Pots and Ceramic Plant Pots
By Claire Miles - August 29, 2022

Choosing a material for a potted plant is almost a science. This is because different plants require different conditions for the pots they would have to call home. However, there are broad differences between some materials.

Table Summary

Terracotta PotsCeramic Pots
It is made from porous clay that is baked only onceIt is made from dense clay that is baked multiple times and glazed
They are relatively inexpensiveIt can be costly
Allows for sufficient absorption and airflowWater absorption and airflow are minimal
Close-Up Of Potted Plant On Table Against Wall

Getty Images / EyeEm / Kseniรข Solov’eva

Definitions

Terracotta pots are made with porous clay molded and baked in a kiln. Terracotta is the oldest form of a potting plant.

Ceramic pots are made from dense clay that has been molded and dried. The pot is then fired in a kiln once dry, glazed with a coat of lacquer, and fired again. The glaze acts as a barrier between the clay and the soil, reducing the water absorption rate.

Terracotta Pots VS Ceramic Pots

Terracotta pots are known for drying quickly. The clay absorbs water from the inside of the pot, allowing the potting soil to dry more rapidly than a ceramic pot which cannot absorb the water due to the glaze. The texture of the Terracotta pot allows for optimal airflow for the roots of the plants, and the quick drying prevents root rot. Owners must be meticulous about the drainage of Ceramic pots as this can destroy the plant. Ceramic pots also tend to be costlier than Terracotta pots. They are also more durable than Terracotta pots which can get fragile after absorbing water from the soil. Some also consider ceramic pots more attractive due to the glossy, shiny surface of the glaze, which can also be painted on. Terracotta pots can also be ornamented during molding, but most still have the clay’s dull, rusty or brown color. Terracotta pots are ideal for pilea, succulents, cacti, peperomia, and other arid plants. Ceramic pots can quickly grow the Golden Pothos, Spider plant, and the maidenhair fern.