“Should I Buy Big or Small Flower Pots?”

by | Updated: Nov 14, 2022

Big vs small flower pots: Which is better?

If I could go back in time and tell myself one thing as a new gardener…

I would say it’s worth finding pretty flower pots. They’re like a good pair of shoes or a nice piece of jewelry. They can really elevate the look of your container garden.

But how do you choose?

Should you buy big or small flower pots? And what if you’re on a budget?? Flower pot prices can make your head spin.

Here are practical questions to consider, so you can choose the best flower pot for YOU.

As you cruise through this article, keep in mind that you don’t have to buy new flowerpots. You can find them used instead. This can be good for your wallet (and Mama Nature too).

#1: Do you want to water less often?

Look for big flower pots.

Big containers tend to dry out more slowly than small pots.

Big flower pots with a western vibe in a Colorado landscape

#2: Do you want to have more design options with your flowers?

Look for flower pots with bigger openings (typically, big pots).

You can fit more flowers in a big container with a wide opening, so it offers more design options. You also can plant bigger flowers.

When you see flower pots that are exploding with color (like in mountain villages or outside the mall), chances are you’re looking at larger pots of flowers.

Big flower pots give you more flower design options, like these colorful flower pots

Does this mean you can’t create a beautiful container garden with medium size or small pots?

Not at all!

If you have smaller pots and you’d like to increase your design options, one thing you can do is to group pots together. That can create a really pretty look with interesting textures and heights. It also allows you to include more flowers.

You can see an example below with medium size pots.

A grouping of medium size flower pots create visual interest

#3: Would you like to keep your plant roots happy, which can play a role in beautiful flowers?

Look for a bigger flower pot — one that has room for plant roots to grow.

As your flower plants leaf out and grow above the soil, their roots are growing proportionally below the surface too.

Bigger containers offer more room for plant roots to grow.

And plants that have more roots are usually happier and healthier plants.

Avoid tiny pots or very shallow pots.

They’re going to look super-cute at the garden center, but it’s best to skip them for your outdoor flowers. You’ll have healthier (and longer-lived) flowers if you buy a pot that gives your plants room to spread their roots.

Tiny flower pots are usually not good for outdoor flowers. There isn't enough room for root growth.

#4: Do you live someplace with blazing hot summers?

Get a big pot if your flowers are going to get afternoon sunlight.

Big flower pots allow for more soil and moisture, which can do a better job keeping the roots of your plants cool and hydrated.

#5: Do you have limited space on your balcony, patio or front porch?

Look for small flower pots — or tall, skinny flower pots.

They work well in small or narrow spaces.

Tall, skinny flower pots are good for small spaces or narrow opening.

#6: Do you want to be able to move your flower pots in bad weather?

Small flower pots can be easier to move.

This is something to think about if you live someplace that gets hail or fluke snowstorms.

(Gardening in states like Colorado, Wyoming and Texas is an adventure, y’all!)

Small pots tend to be easier to move than big pots. However, a small pot can still get heavy. And there are things you can do to make big pots easier to move in hailstorms. Get the scoop on hailstorm protection here.

A small flower pot in blue with yellow marigolds

#7: Are you on a budget? Or, are you interested in reusing rather than buying new?

Then, the size will vary.

Small flower pots will require fewer flowers and less potting soil, which can reduce your costs.

And small, decorative pots are usually cheaper than big, decorative pots at garden centers. With that said…

You can find deals on any size container if you get creative.

For example, you don’t have to buy a new container.

  • If you’re moving into a home, ask if the previous owner wants to leave any garden supplies — like flower pots. People are often transitioning to different stages of life. (This is how I scored many of my garden tools and a collection of pots!)
  • You can look for flower pots at estate sales.
  • Neighborhood websites like Next Door, Craig’s List or OfferUp can be a good source of garden supplies, including flower pots.

You can find used flower pots and garden tools on neighborhood websites.

In the early spring, places like Costco and HomeGoods (TJ Maxx) often carry flowerpots that won’t break the bank.

And in the fall, flower pots often go on sale at garden centers and boutique-type stores.

#8: Want to make sure your flower pots have the most important feature of all?

Look for flower pots with a hole.

You’ll save yourself extra steps and have happier plants.

Why do they make so many flower pots without holes? It’s weird!

Holes are important.

A flower pot without a hole is like a bathtub without a drain. It can lead to problems.

When water can freely drain from your pots, your plants will have much healthier roots. And healthy roots make a big difference in growing long-lived plants that look GOOD. Cheers to that!

Small flower pot with colorful, pink calibrachoa

Related topics that may interest you:

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Ann from Go West Gardener with her flowerpots and garden

Hey there, I'm Ann

I’m a master gardener, western garden journalist, blogger and Colorado girl. I help flower gardeners in the intermountain west create more beauty with less effort. More about Ann >>

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