Are Nursery Pots Bad for Your Plants?

Choosing the right pot for your plants is one of the essential things to keep in mind for a successful garden. Nursery pots are often considered a bad option for plants, but is that really the case?

Nursery plants are not bad for your plants. The pots are typically made of plastic, which can last for years. Consider switching to a different pot only if your plant is getting too big for the nursery pot.

In this article, I’ll take a closer look at nursery pots and whether they’re good for your plants. Stay tuned to find out!

What Happens When Plants Are Left in Nursery Pots?

While it’s often assumed that plants need to be transplanted into the ground to thrive, this isn’t always the case. Many plants do just as well – if not better – when left in their nursery pots.

The roots of a plant are less likely to be disturbed when left in a nursery pot, which can help the plant establish a strong and healthy root system. 

Additionally, nursery pots protect from extreme weather conditions and pests. This is important as the plant is at the stage when it’s vulnerable to these. 

If you need to decide whether to transplant your new plant, it’s worth giving it a try in its pot first. You may be surprised at how well it does.

Smaller Plants Can Stay in Nursery Pots for Half a Year

If you have a small plant, keeping it in its nursery pot for at least six months is perfectly fine. This way, the roots have time to establish themselves properly.

Once the plant has outgrown its pot, you can transplant it into the ground or a larger container. By letting the plant grow properly in its pot, you’ll ultimately end up with a stronger and healthier plant that can withstand being transplanted.

When Should You Take Your Plant Out of the Nursery Pot?

There are several reasons you might consider moving your plant out of its nursery pot. 

Roots Crawling Out of the Nursery Pot

If your plant’s roots are crawling out of the nursery pot, that’s your cue to repot. Although it may seem daunting, repotting is simple and only takes a few minutes.

Repotting a plant gives it access to new soil and fresh nutrients. It also gives it a bigger space to grow. 

If you move your plant to a pot that’s only a bit larger than the old one, repotting won’t shock your plant.

Yellowing or Drooping Leaves Despite Adequate Watering

If you’re watering your plant regularly and its leaves are still yellowing or drooping, it could be a sign that the plant isn’t getting enough nutrients due to poor soil quality

When the soil around a plant’s roots becomes compacted, it doesn’t allow water or nutrients to penetrate the roots properly. As a result, the plant becomes stressed, and leaves become yellow or droop.

Repotting the plant in fresh, high-quality soil can help alleviate this problem and return your plant to good health.

The Plant Is a Larger Species

If you’ve had your plant for a while and it’s starting to outgrow its pot, it’s time to repot. All plants need room to grow, so if yours is getting too big for its pot, it won’t be long before the roots become cramped.

This can cause all sorts of problems for the plant, including yellowing or drooping leaves, stunted growth, and poor overall health. You’ll give it room to grow healthy and strong by repotting the plant in a larger pot.

Nursery Pots: Pros and Cons

Nursery pots have their advantages and disadvantages. Here are the most important ones you should be aware of. 


Less Expensive

Nursery pots are significantly less expensive than decorative pots. They are mass-produced and made of inexpensive materials such as plastic, making them a good option if you’re on a budget. However, as I’ll discuss later, this comes at the cost of the pot’s durability.

Lightweight and Easy To Move

Since nursery pots are lightweight, they are easy to move around. As a result, nursery pots are an excellent choice for gardeners with limited space or who need to move their plants around frequently (due to inclement weather, for example).


Not Attractive

Nursery pots are usually made of bright plastic, which can clash with the natural colors of your plants. In addition, they can be ugly and difficult to hide. For these reasons, many gardeners prefer to use more discreet potting options such as terracotta or glazed ceramic. These materials blend in more easily with the surroundings and can help to create a more unified look.

If you’re looking for a pot that will add beauty to your garden, consider a decorative pot instead. Not only are they better looking than nursery pots, but they are also bigger, which prevents plants from looking “lost” in them.

Not Durable

Nursery pots aren’t always durable and can crack or break easily. They may also not have drainage holes, which can lead to problems with overwatering. If you’re looking for a pot that will last for many years, choose something like a ceramic pot instead.

Degrades Faster in Sunlight

Because nursery pots are made from thin plastic, they don’t hold up well to UV rays. Also, when exposed to sunlight, the potting mix inside the pot can start to heat up. This can cause the plant’s roots to overheat, leading to stress and even death.

To avoid these problems, it’s best to store nursery pots in a cool, shady spot whenever possible. If you have to put them in direct sunlight, give them plenty of water, so the roots don’t heat up too much.

Low Air Circulation

Since they’re typically smaller and packed, nursery pots often have poor air circulation. This can lead to problems with mold and mildew, as well as roots that are too wet or dry. If you live in a humid climate, it’s vital to ensure your nursery pots have good air circulation.

Cannot Hold Bigger Plants

Even the biggest nursery pots cannot accommodate bigger plants for long. The moment the roots of a growing plant start touching the sides of the pot, it becomes constricted, and the plant’s growth slows down.

Therefore, replanting larger plants in bigger pots or on the ground as soon as they outgrow their current pots is important. By doing so, you will give them the room they need to continue growing and thriving.

The pot’s size plays a crucial role in the plant’s ability to grow. Check out my article to see if you can move your plant to a smaller pot: Can You Put Your Plant into a Smaller Pot?

No Proper Drainage

Nursery pots are often made of plastic and don’t have bigger drainage holes. This can be bad for your plants because they can’t drain properly and may end up sitting in water, leading to root rot. You may need to drill bigger holes into the pots if you want a better drainage system.

Tips for Using Nursery Pots for Plants

Make Sure the Pots Have Good Drainage

If the pot doesn’t have adequate drainage, the roots can get waterlogged and rot. To avoid this issue, choose a pot with drainage holes at the bottom or sides. You can also create drainage holes yourself if necessary.

Here’s a YouTube video that gives a step-by-step guide on how to add drainage holes to pots:

Spruce Up the Pot’s Looks

If you don’t like how nursery pots look, there’s a simple solution: Simply place the nursery pot inside a larger pot of your choice. This will help to disguise the bright plastic and make the overall design more cohesive. You can also use this technique to create a two-toned effect by using two different colors of pots.

If the nursery pots are in your garden, try placing them behind larger plants or in areas where they’ll be less visible. You can also try painting them to match your other pots or disguise them with fabric or burlap.

Use a Well-Draining Potting Mix

It’s also important to use a potting mix that drains well. A good quality potting mix typically includes sand, peat moss, and perlite or vermiculite. This ensures that your plant’s roots don’t become waterlogged and provide the plant with the necessary nutrients to thrive.

With the Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix (available on, you can ensure that your plants receive the moisture they need. The mixture is good for six months, and your plant can grow up to 33 percent bigger than if they didn’t have this potting mix.

If you use compost in your potting mix, you may wonder how long you can keep it. Read my complete guide to learn if the compost should be changed yearly: Do You Need to Change Compost in Pots Every Year?

Final Thoughts

Nursery pots aren’t bad for your plants. They can be a great option for getting your plants started. Just be sure to upgrade to a bigger pot when your plant starts to outgrow its current one.

But if you’re looking for a pot that will show off your plant, you’ll probably want to go with something else. That said, a nursery pot is a good option if you’re looking for a functional pot that will do the job.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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