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Choosing the Right Pot for Your Container Garden

Learn the difference between soft, less-durable clay pots, and high-fired, freeze-resistant clay containers so you select the right flower pot or planter.

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When you shop for clay pots, you'll notice a huge range of prices. One of the reasons for this is the quality of the material. Low porosity, high fired clay is the best quality. It's heavy, hard, and stands up to freezing weather. Porous, soft clay is les durable particularly in cold weather. How do you know the difference? Use the tap test. Flick the pot with your finger and if it's hard, high fired ceramic, you'll hear a melodic ring like this. If it's soft clay, you'll hear a relatively dull sound. Tap several pots in the garden center and you'll quickly learn the difference. High fired ceramics are more rugged, but that doesn't mean softer clay pots are bad choices. They're less costly and if you take them into a shed or garage for the winter, you can get years of use out of them. But when you need a durable ceramic container that can even stand up to winter conditions, look for a quality high fired pot.