There are several types of flower pots that can be used as African violet pots.
According to the material, there are:
- plastic pots
- terracotta pots
- metal flower pots
- wooden pots
There are other African violet pots classifications, like:
- flower pot shape (cylindrical, squared, box like ...)
- flower pot placement (outdoor flower pots, indoor flower pots, window boxes, hanging planters ...)
- appearance (simple planting pots, decorative flower pots ...)
Type of flower pot determine how often you have to water the plants, how long will flower pots last, how stable they are in combination with plants and soil etc.
Plastic flower pots come in various sizes, colors, shapes, usages. For African violets, smaller plastic pots are used - 5 - 25 cm (2 - 10 inches) in diameter, depending on the size and number of the plants we are going to plant in the pot. These pots are mostly cylindrical and most growers plant single African violet plant per pot. Of course, micro African violets will be more than happy in the 5 cm pot (2 inches), while giant African violets can sometimes out-grow 25 cm (10 inches) pots.
Plastic flower pots can be simple plastic empty cylinders, but they can also have complex decorations. Decorative plastic flower pots are more expensive than 'ordinary' plastic pots, but they are still cheaper than terracotta or porcelain flower pots.
Plastic nursery pots are small plastic general purpose planting pots, often used for propagation of African violets from leaves or seeds. They come as single potting pots or as square, box shape set of many potting pots/holes. They are very cheep - sometime people throw them after usage, although they can be used numerous times. If you reuse them, be sure to wash them thoroughly with plenty of hot water and some cleaning agent.
Terracotta, Terra cotta or Terra-cotta (from the Latin 'terra cotta' - 'baked earth'), is a type of clay-based unglazed or glazed ceramic, where the body itself is porous. Of course, glazed terracotta flower pots are not porous.
Terracotta pots are very durable and if you don't break them, they can last forever. Unfortunately, terracotta flower pots are very brittle and if you drop one of those, chances are that it will break in many pieces. Also, they are sensitive to hits by other terracotta pots or similarly hard objects - small fragments can fall off.
Terracotta pots are suitable for African violets - wide body terracotta pot filled with growing mix and with planted African violet plant is very stable and if you choose decorative and colored terracotta flower pot, it can make very nice combination.
Prices for terracotta flower pots vary significantly, depending on the size, shape, decorations etc.
Other materials are rarely used:
- porcelain flower pots (not to be confused with arcopal flower pots) are used almost exclusively as decorative pots due to their price. Often, they are treated as artistic pieces, but combined with blooming African violet can make breathtaking combination ... Price? Hugh, tens, sometimes hundreds times more expensive than similar terracotta pots ...
- metal flower pots for African violets are very rarely used. They are heavy, iron made pots tend to rust, must be painted from time to time. Aluminum pots don't rust, don't have to be painted. But, these types of pots are, IMHO, part of the history, at least, for growing African violets.
- wooden flower pots are rarely used for African violets. They don't last long, unless they are treated chemically - these chemicals are often not the healthiest thing around. On the other hand, untreated wood soaks up moisture and can be source of many problems when growing African violets - constant moisture can cause roots to rot, can cause some root mold infections etc.
If you have garden, outdoor wooden flower pots (treated chemically) can be very decorative, but for indoor plants like African violets, IMHO, they are not the best choice.
Decorative wooden flower pots or decorative wooden stands can be used for holding plastic or terracotta pots with African violet plant - these and similar combinations are very often, just be sure not to wet your wooden pot or stand.
Hanging flower pots are used for decorative purposes or if you want to utilize your space better. Indoor hanging planters are often used for trailing African violets - as plants grow, they freely spread over and beyond edges of hanging planter. Often, several trailing African violets are planted in single planter - various colors of blooming flower can make appearance of flower waterfall ...
Decorative hanging baskets are often made of glazed ceramic and can be filled with soil mix directly or African violets and other plants can be planted in cheep plastic pot and kept in hanging basket.
Some hanging baskets have self watering option which can be very helpful, if you must leave your plants for longer period of time.
Self watering planters can be great help when growing African violets, flowers or plants in general. You add water into the pot and pot do the rest. And if you use one of the fully-dissolving or liquid fertilizers and add it to the water, than caring about your plants is greatly simplified.
Well, sorry to say, but things are not that simple - African violets like fertile soil and even moisture, but they don't like soggy soils nor constant water around the roots.
When choosing self watering planters for African violets, be sure to choose ones recommended for African violets. They usually use capillary (or wick) system for transporting water (and dissolved fertilizer) to flower pot - this way, potting soil is moist, but not filled with water and root system is still well aerated.
If you use plastic and glazed pots, you have to water plants less often. Unglazed pots allow water to evaporate through the sides of the pot, so you will have to water more often. But evaporating water allows more air around roots, making them more resilient to rotting.
Glazed pots are more expensive than unglazed pots. Plastic pots are today the cheapest one.
Ceramic or clay pots are relatively heavy when compared with plastic pots. When filled with soil and with potted plant, difference is not so obvious. But if you have not so robust shelves for African violets and don't want to put anything heavy on them, choose plastic pots. Also heavier pots are more stable if there is danger of flipping them over, but plastic pots are somewhat more resistant to cracking when fall down – anyway, keep little kids away :o)
Ceramic and clay pots tend to last longer than plastic, but with current prices, it is still cheaper to buy plastic pots. But, if you put African violet in plastic pot and than in bigger ceramic pot with some decoration – it can be very beautiful thing to see. So, enjoy playing with your African violets and experiment ...
African violet pots can be purchased in every garden center or even bigger shopping center - if you are looking for cheap plastic pots. More expensive, decorative pots can be found in some garden centers, ordered on-line, etc. If you are growing African violets for your own pleasure, go for the cheapest you can find - you will save some money and your plants won't be able to tell the difference if they are growing in some 20 cents plastic pot or 20$ glazed ceramic colored self watering pot ...
Set of three glazed ceramic pots, suitable for all smaller perennial indoor flowers, African violets included. This is set of very decorative pots, so if you are going to grow your African violets in these pots, be sure to have plants potted in cheep plastic pots that can fit entirely into ceramic pots.
Very decorative glazed ceramic urn shaped self watering flower pot. African violet plant can go without watering up to a two weeks - very useful and decorative pot for office or home. They are also available in many other colors.
This is hanging, fully glazed ceramic self watering planter. It is 23cm (9 inches) in diameter and can hold 15cm (6 inches) plastic pot with planted flower plant(s).
This planter is suitable for larger African violet varieties and for trailing African violet plants. Some growers plant several trailing African violet plants into single 15cm (6 inches) plastic pot and put it into this or similar hanging planter.
Anyway, planter of this kind can sustain plants up to three weeks - depending on the size of potted plants and outside/room temperature and moisture.