Some plants don’t care where they are grown. They can thrive in any planter they are put in because they are tough enough. However, not all plants are like this; some can be too sensitive to the environment in which they thrive and require a place to call home.
When it comes to planters, we have a wide range of options, from clay, wood, canvas, and ceramic to plastic. But the dilemma is which one to choose.
Plastic planters are becoming increasingly popular since they are strong, almost impossible to break, lightweight, and inexpensive. However, something is not necessarily a good idea just because it is in style.
We’re not arguing that plastic pots are always terrible, though. On the contrary, certain advantages make this substance suitable for growing seedlings.
Are you wondering why plastic containers work best for seedlings? Then, please read the entire post below without skipping a single paragraph.
Which Plastic is Used to Make Flower Pots?
There is a widespread call to stop using single-use plastics. However, plastic horticulture pots or simple plastic flower pots are becoming increasingly popular in the gardening sector.
The issue is, what kind of plastic is utilized in producing plastic flower pots? Are they at all eco-friendly or just budget-friendly?
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) or Polypropelene is used to make plastic flower pots. Despite being quite inexpensive and adding beauty to your yard, these pots are more difficult to recycle than plastic water bottles made of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). Hence, local laws in many US communities prohibit the recycling of plastic flower pots.
However, eliminating plastic from the horticulture business in the near future is a pipe dream.
Why is it so?
Because no suitable substitute can match the advantages of plastic flower pots till now.
We are, however, observing some significant shifts in the trend, as some gardeners are emphasizing the use of recycled plastic flower pots for seedling germination.
So, storing the plastic pots and reusing them for cuttings and growing seedlings is one way we can lessen the effects of plastics on the environment while still using them in gardening.
This way, we will purchase fewer new plastic pots and continue to use the old ones until they are no longer useful.
Plastic vs Clay Pot: Top-5 Differences
When the topic of plastic horticultural pots is brought up, one of its alternatives—clay flower pots—enters the conversation. Even unintentionally, we weigh the pros and cons of plastic and clay horticultural pots before deciding. Therefore, why not also compare them here?
As far back as gardening’s recorded history goes, clay pots have been used. Clay pots were the only alternative before the discovery of plastics. Our planet was then cleaner and cooler, and pollutant levels were much lower.
These days, things are different. More focus is being placed on plastics. We are comparing the top-5 differences between plastic flower pots and clay pots here rather than making judgments about whether they are good or harmful.
Keeping plant roots immersed in damp soil is not a good idea. Therefore, the planter’s porosity is essential. Compared to plastic flower pots, clay flower pots have a higher level of permeability. Therefore, clay pots are a fantastic choice for plants that require frequent watering.
The walls of the planter will absorb a specific amount of water each time you water your plant, keeping the plant dry. Plastic containers, on the other hand, are excellent if your plant needs less watering.
They are not porous. Thus the water will be kept at the roots of the plants for a long time, keeping the soil moist.
A flower pot that fractures and breaks quickly is not something you should spend money on. Pots made of clay and plastic are both sturdy. Yet plastic pots are not environmentally friendly and tend to break when used repeatedly.
In other words, when exposed to excessive heat or cold, plastic pots can become brittle and fracture after long-term usage. A clay pot won’t break unless you drop it.
Clay pots are adaptable and can easily withstand the impact of extreme temperatures. Additionally, the walls of the clay pot work as a temperature insulator to stop the soil from heating up or cooling down too quickly.
As a result, the plant roots are better able to withstand temperature variations.
One of their main distinctions is that clay pots are environmentally friendly while plastic ones are not. Why? Because as we already mentioned, High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) or Polypropylene, the two main materials used to make plastic pots, are difficult to recycle.
However, many manufacturers now produce recyclable plastic flower pots, so dumping is environmentally friendly when the pots are not in use.
We advise choosing plastic planters if you frequently relocate your plants. Since clay planters are typically heavier than plastic ones, moving them regularly may cause back pain.
Plastic flower pots are also lightweight, making it simple to keep them on furniture like table tops and cabinets. The bigger clay pots are best maintained on the ground, but if you choose smaller, more manageable clay or ceramic pots, you can place them on tables, counters, and other similar places.
When selecting plant containers, the cost is an important consideration. Plastic pots are manufactured by machines, which results in low labor costs and a lower price. However, the final cost of the pot will also depend on the plastic’s quality.
Plastic pots of superior quality will cost more than cheaper ones. On the other hand, since most clay pots are handmade, their final price is higher. However, using plastic pots instead of clay ones won’t break the wallet if you change your pots frequently.
Reasons to Use Durable Plastic Flower Pots for Seedlings
Plastics are bad for the environment, yet they are in use. So, it is crucial to understand what makes plastic pots good for seedlings. Of course, everyone has different reasons for using plastic pots, and you may also have your own reasons.
In this piece, we will provide you with the top 6 reasons that will make you say YES, I need plastic flower pots to grow my seedlings.
1. Uphold the Warmth
When growing seedlings, proper warmth and moisture must be provided. With a plastic flowerpot, these chores are simple to complete. These pots are believed to trap more humidity and hold heat more effectively than clay or ceramic pots.
Plastic material does not absorb water, in contrast to clay pots, and maintains the soil moist for a very long time. You can cover your plastic flower pots or trays with a thin plastic film during the first stage when direct sunlight is not required and keep them close to a warm location.
The plastic material will trap and maintain the heat for a long time. However, be cautious in using BPA-free containers because BPA plastics release toxins into the soil when exposed to high temperatures.
2. Less Watering Needs
Seeds that thrive in moisture can be easily planted in plastic containers. Why? Because plastic walls are not porous enough to absorb water, as we have already said. Since the soil will stay moist for a long period, you will need to water your seeds less.
In other words, plants that need consistent dampness and water will do well in plastic flower pots.
Plastic pots are unsurpassed in terms of weight, and this is one key benefit of utilizing them. Growing seedlings will inevitably involve hardening them off before transplanting.
So, it is reasonable to anticipate shifting the pots at least twice a week.
A lightweight plastic pot will never give you back pain during this period because you may easily move it indoors and outdoors.
Additionally, you may easily relocate these pots from one area to another to regulate the quantity of sunlight and humidity needed for the plants multiple times throughout the day.
Most of us think that plastic and recycling are oxymorons. However, it is no longer a pure reality. These days, it is possible to get plastics created from recycled materials, making them environmentally acceptable to dispose of.
Hence, if you’re a conscientious gardener, pick high-quality, recyclable plastic pots that don’t contain BPA. However, remember that using such plastic containers minimizes the environmental impact and reduces the impact of pollution.
Additionally, premium plastic pots are constructed of particles considered safe for plant growth. To find out whether the pot is recyclable, look at the bottom of it.
5. No Pest Issue
Pests and illnesses are common problems for gardeners when cultivating seedlings. However, plastic pots make it simple to disinfect them and keep fungus and pests away.
The best technique to disinfect a plastic pot is to soak it for at least an hour in a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Next, rinse the pot and properly dry it before beginning the seedling germination and growth procedures.
6. More Drainage Holes
One of the best ways to keep pests and diseases at bay is to plant seedlings in a well-drained planter. In the case of a plastic pot, it is easier to get more drainage holes.
For instance, in certain (big) plastic pots, you can get as many as 32 drainage holes at the base. More holes mean better drainage of excess water and better aeration of the roots.
Additionally, if you buy a plastic pot without any holes, you can easily add as many holes as you like in the pot’s base by using a drill or a hot nail.
Apart from the above reasons, here are some other causes that work in favor of plastic flower pots.
- More designs
- Wider base
- Easy to control
- Customizable designs
- More colorful
- Easy to wash and maintain
- Can be used for a longer time
Are There Any Disadvantages of Plastic Pots?
Plastic pots are fantastic, but not everything is flashy about them. In addition, plastic pots have a few drawbacks that cannot be ignored. So, the main drawbacks of utilizing plastic flower pots for seedlings are listed below.
- Not fully Recyclable
Modern plastics are indeed manufactured from recycled resources. Can they be considered “eco-friendly” or “recyclable,” though?
Whatever we say, organic materials like clay, coir, etc., are more environmentally friendly than plastics. In addition, many local councils do not provide recycling services for plastics.
So used plastic pots end up in landfills where they produce hazardous byproducts that harm the environment. Moreover, high-grade, BPA-free, recyclable plastic pots are not always available. Therefore, their accessibility remains a challenge.
- Retains Heat
Another feature of plastic that makes them often undesirable is their over-heating capacity, especially black plastic.
Retaining a certain amount of heat is essential to boost the growth of seedlings and matured pants. But what if the temperature of the soil gets too high for too long? Your plant will die.
- Does not Look Natural
We do not deny that plastic pots come in various colors and shapes, which can add a level of beauty to your yard or indoor garden. But they cannot be compared with the natural beauty of clay or ceramic pots. Indeed, the latter looks more natural, organic, and aesthetically soothing.
- Become Brittle Over Time
Plastic can become brittle and fade in the presence of sunlight and extremely cold temperatures. But plastics are still thought to be more resilient than clay, though. One major factor is that plastic pots won’t crack even if you drop them, unlike clay pots.
So, if you are planning to purchase plastic flower pots for outdoor settings or where sun exposure is significant, make sure to buy pots that come with UV light inhibitor coatings.
The coatings will extend these pots’ lifespans, which will stop them from deteriorating under direct sunlight.
- Prone to Overwatering
Plastic pots are not porous, as we have frequently emphasized, so they do not absorb water. In other words, plastic pots hold onto the moisture in the soil longer. So, if you’re not careful, you may overwater and make the soil too wet, which would be bad for your seedlings.
Our Recommended Plastic Flower Pots
Looking for some good plastic flower pot options to grow seedlings? Well, your search can end here, as we are listing the top plastic pots for gardening in this section. Please follow the below table for reference.
|1. 8″ Round Plastic Caribbean Planter||• Durable|
• Comes with removable drain plug
• Good for indoors and outdoor plants
• Traditional design
|2. HOMENOTE Pots for Plants||• Multi-Hole drainage design|
• 15 pieces planting pots with matching trays
• Great for small-medium house plants
• Sturdy and portable
• Affordable price
|3. Premium High-Density Plastic Planter & Flower Window Box||• Made of 100% high-quality polypropylene material|
• Comes with attached trays
• UV protection coating
• Indoor and outdoor usage
|4. GROWNEER 120 Packs 4 Inches Plastic Plant Nursery Pots||• Perfect as temporary pots|
• Include 15 pcs plant levels
• Good drainage holes
• Raised rims for easy handling
|5. McConkey Square Nursery Pot||• BPA free polymer|
• Floor standing mount type
• Highly durable
• The soiree shape allows more soil to fit in
• Rightly priced
So, this was our take on why you can use plastic flower pots for seedlings. The bottom line is that, although not completely eco-friendly, plastic flower pots have some great functionalities that make them apt.
But you must always consider your gardening needs before choosing any planter. Refer to the post above to learn about the pros and cons of plastic flower pots before taking any decision.
We would also want to emphasize that the success of seedlings or plants is not only the responsibility of the planter. To ensure your seedlings are growing nicely, you must also invest in soil, potting mix, fertilizing, watering, mulching, etc.