Indoor pots and houseplants keep a gardener’s creativity alive all winter. Today, a fun range of both is easy to find, and a trip to the garden center offers a chance to play mix-and-match. You might fall in love first with a plant, then choose the container in which you’ll place it. Or you could find a new favorite pot, then the plant to finish it just right. Either way, to make the perfect pairing, keep the following tips in mind.

All plants and containers courtesy of Winston Flowers and Garden, except where otherwise noted. See “Where We Shopped,” page 31, for store information.

Shine On

Remember what caught your eye first about a particular pot, and play it up with a plant of similar attraction. Here, glossy, wavy leaves of crocodile fern (Microsorium musifolium Crocodyllus’) mirror this pot’s striking glaze. Glazed clay pot, 8-inches wide, 8 inches tall. $52. Courtesy of Fiachie.

Shape Up

Look for containers with interesting shapes; your choice isn’t limited to round or square. Finding a quirky form, such as that of the boatlike planter pictured opposite, will give you a fresh perspective on mixed-planting possibilities, perhaps inspiring a great new combination. Glazed stoneware trough, 18 inches long, 6 inches tall. $45.

Attend to Details

Look for containers strong in more than one design detail. Above, texture and color combine to make one very striking style. Examine functional details, too; this tub lacks drainage holes, but it will make a lovely cover for standard plastic pots. Fiberglass cachepot, about 18 inches wide, 12 inches tall. $125. Courtesy of Fiachre.

Try the Unlikely

Experiment with plant and pot combinations, even those that seem far-fetched At first glance, this rainbow fern (Selaginella uncinata) looks flimsy; this pot, made from recycled tires, seems drab. But each balances the other, and together make a cheerful and bold pair and a fun visual surprise. Recycled rubber pot, approximately to inches wide and 12 inches tall. $30.

Consider Color

Plants with variegated foliage deserve a pot in a color that makes them really stand out. But be careful: this pot’s mustard tones don’t compete with pink-and-green leaves, although a brighter hue of yellow would. Glazed stoneware pot is 11 inches wide, 9 inches tall. $25. New EIKJIHIHI Pottery.


Shop Wisely

Think about what you want from a container before you buy. These two pots share a similar look, but the one on the right, planted with corkscrew rush (Juncus effusus ‘Spiralis’), costs 10 times more than the other. If style is most important to you, why not go with the less expensive pot? If function is crucial–you want a rust-resistant, solid pot with a drainage hole–you’ll pick the pot on the right. Aluminum cache pot (left), 7 inches wide, 12 inches tall. $30. Courtesy of Forbidden Fruit. Zinc, planter, 12 inches wide, 10 inches tall. $300. Courtesy of Winston Flowers & Garden.

Suit Yourself

If you practice a certain garden style, keep your interest indulged with pots and plants reminiscent of it. The weathered container above, hewn from a tree limb, might cater to a shade or rock gardener’s taste. Stonecrop (Sedum spp.) is a natural fit. Wooden cache pot 6 inches wide. 8 inches tall. $40.

Put Plants to Work

Place houseplants in rooms you frequently use; they’ll make being indoors nearly as nice as being in the garden. This exuberant tropical plant and its terra-cotta pot could spice up any interior. The pot’s seashell motif hints at warmer seasons ahead, Terra-cotta shell pot, 17 inches wide, 13.5 inches tall. $380. Courtesy of Seibert & Rice.

Make It Big

Don’t limit your indoor endeavors to one windowsill of six-inch-pots. Free-standing containers and large speciman plants, like this staghorn fern. (Platycerium bifurcatum) announce their presence loud-and ensure it’s no secret there’s a gardener in the house. Glazed ceramic planter, 10 inches wide, 36 inches tall. $200.

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