Using Glazed Pottery in your Container Garden

Glazed pots have been a feature in garden for centuries
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In this article, we continue our discussion on the types of containers used in the garden and this time we will be discussing glazed pottery. In the past articles, I have talked about terracotta pots, plastic containers and wooden containers. We now turn our attention to an attractive type of containers- glazed pottery.


Glazed pottery is a newish arrival to the container market, only becoming available in the last 20 years or so. This is not surprising as they tend to be inexpensive, where much of it is oriental in origin.

Glazed pots have been a feature in garden for centuries
Glazed pots have been a feature in garden for centuries

They are also often attractively coloured with intrinsic patterns on them. They often are available in sets of 3 to 5 container of different sizes, and usually come with matching saucers and pot feet.

The cheap version of these containers tends to be less frost-proof than the most expensive ones, which is recommended if you live in a cooler climate where harsh frosts can be common.


 Glazed ceramic containers come in such a large range of shapes, colours, patterns and sizes to stage in any garden design and to bring forward the plant within. As stated earlier, if you want an all year round use then the container you buy must be frost proof and durable to take those knocks often experienced by these containers.

If you have a design in mind, it is not difficult to find so many containers on offer to suit your requirements.

The clay colours and the naturalistic design of containers that have oriental-style glazed design will suit all sorts of plants. Because it has an oriental design it does not mean that you will have to use oriental style plants within them. Instead, it is better if some of the container plants match the colours of the container itself. In this way, it will give a stunning effect.

Translucent Glaze

Translucent glaze in ceramic containers gives it a more natural, weather-worn look of an antique container. In these charismatic containers, it is best to plant with flowers with a simple colour scheme. For example, if your container is purple, the use of purple pansies and violas will give an instant impact.

In glazed containers, another strategy is to choose plants that completely contrasts the colour of the container. For example, a blue container and orange marigolds planted within makes a stunning combination. You, therefore, have two strategies to use; a scheme where the flowers and container blend with each other or use a scheme where the flowers and container will contrast each other (See my article on a colour scheme to help you decide).

Ceramic Jar

You can also use ceramic jars that are attractively shaped, but avoid using them for long term use. If they are, plants within them can become pot bound. This will add extra stress to the container with the possibility to split it. It is best to use ceramic glazed jars for short term annuals, They can then be brought under storage in winter, so avoiding any potential damage to the container caused by cold, frosty weather.


Small tureens that are green look fantastic when teamed with brightly, coloured red flowers such as nicotiana or lilies. The reflective surfaces bring out the best in the flowers, where the leaves blend with the container and the blooms are highlighted. A sort of blend and contrast strategy in the same design scheme.

Bonsai Dishes

Another container that is used for a bonsai tree is the bonsai dish, where the tree within the glazed pot is raised to another level. Make sure that containers used for bonsais are frost proof and have drainage holes. The pot also has to have feet so that the container itself is raised above the place it is situated on.

The point of raising the container is to ensure that dead pockets cannot accumulate within the base. The feet also allows the water to drain away easily. Make sure that the pot is only glazed in the outside and not in the inside, as this is an inhospitable surface for the roots to grow on. This will cause the compost within to dry out too quickly around the perimeter of the pot.

The glazed dishes you can buy can be any colour form and shape, so do be adventurous when it is time to select one for your bonsai. A container that you choose should complement the tree within to have a harmonised unit. For example, the vividly coloured leaves of red Japanese maple are set off by a blue glazed container.


Choose pots with striking oriental designs to be teamed up with plants based on a similar theme. For example, in oriental design, the use of bamboos, grasses, hostas, houttuynias, irises, Japanese Maples, conifers or evergreens will look fantastic.

For annuals, chose plain coloured containers and use simple designs that do not distract from the plants within. If you are using a flowering shrub match it with a patterned container so that the colour of the flowers matches that of the pot.

To get the greatest impact, it is best to arrange glazed pottery, jars and pots of differing sizes on a raised stage. In this scheme, it is best to plant different green foliage plants that are chosen for their beautiful shape and textures.

This will create a stunning display in which the container and the plants within do focus your attention.

Ceramic pots also make good temporary home to seasonal displays; use spring bulbs and plants such as polyanthus and primulas in a similar way you would use glazed containers near a window indoors. On annual glazed container schemes again use a tiered system, as it will give the most impact. It is especially effective if they are set against perennial evergreens, such as Choisyas, dwarf conifers or rhododendrons.


In this article, we have discussed what you want to use glazed pottery in the garden. They are attractive to look at and especially so when they are planted with plants that either blend or contrast brilliantly.

You have so many choices in what pots to use in terms of sizes, shapes, forms, designs and colours that you wonder what you did before they were invented. They lead the way to great oriental designs with oriental plants, so if you like the Japanese or Chinese style, then glazed containers are for you.

If you have any questions or comments to make on this topic, please do so in the comment box below.

Go crazy for glazing.


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