Magazine article Sunset

What about All the New Plastic Pots?

Magazine article Sunset

What about All the New Plastic Pots?

Article excerpt

The container of choice for many who make their living with plants may surprise you: plastic. And not just because of its reasonable price. Consider some of the material's many virtues.

It's light often only 10 to 20 percent the weight of clay Add a plant, potting mix, and water, and the overall weight can make the difference between a container that's easy to move and one that's too cumbersome.

It's strong. If you buy a good (more expensive) grade of plastic, your container won't be likely to break if you drop it or subject it to winter freezes. Better plastics are also made with ultraviolet light inhibitors, so they won't become brittle and dull as quickly as cheaper pots.

It comes in more colors than pots made from any other material (with the possible exception of ceramic). Colors range from garish to subtle (some resemble terra cotta but are of stronger, deeper tones).

It's cheaper, at least in most sizes. The break-even point seems to be at about the 6-inch pot size. Smaller than that, clay is usually cheaper; bigger than that, plastic is. The reason? Plastic is light and often made in this country, so it costs less to ship than imported clay.

For the largest pot sizes, clay can cost two to three times what plastic costs. The only large containers substantially cheaper than plastic are made of pressed paper pulp, or sometimes of wood. …

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