The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

TERRACOTTA, tubs, pots, and plaques.


By siris


I do like terracotta.
It has a warmth and a natural feel.
I got carried away when I saw these tubs (above) for sale in a garden centre several years ago in The French Alps. They were not expensive so I bought several, thinking they would be frost proof, coming from a snowy environment. They are not.
They have remained empty for several years as a couple have crumbled after frosted soil caused them to crumble.
Even the ones under the carport suffer if they are full of damp soil in a frosty winter.
I have now started reusing a couple for seedlings but it seems a shame that they will probably suffer the same fate.

QUESTION:- has anyone tried a water proofed/sealer, painted inside and out on terracotta pots and tubs? Or any other solutions (pardon the pun!)

ANYWAY, I thought I would show you some terracotta wall pots that I saw in Italy last summer. They were on the top of gate post pillars at the entry to an hotel, and planted with Agave.



They obviously don’t suffer from frost damage on the west Italian coast.

This one is over 2000 years old. It is priceless.

To paint all 12 tubs would take an eternity.
My OH says their longevity is a just a matter of quality.

More blog posts by siris

Previous post: Garden resolutions 2016

Next post: A week of precipitation.



I've not tried painting waterproof sealer on terracotta.
I do agree with your OH, that longevity usually depends on quality, though sometimes there seems little logic between those pots which remain in pristine condition and those which flake away. I have some pots which have surprisingly survived the frosts, and other which have disintegrated.
Fascinating blog. Thank you.

12 Jan, 2016


Yes, I love terracotta pots tooSiris....particulalry when they age.
It's funny, my neighbour's dad was chatting to me the other day when I was working in the tiny front garden.he admired some of the plants in my winter pots but then as he spoke he referred to 'nice' glazed, coloured pots. So, I think probably some people don't see terracotta as decorative but I do. To be fair, they probably suited my former garden/home more than this very modern property but I just love them so they will be staying.
And, I don't worry about them cracking etc.....they are so inexpensive compared to some other types of pot that they are easily replaced although, I have a few with cracks that I have continued to use for years.i have never used any kind of sealer so can't help I'm afraid. But, I'm with you....I love has a character!
Personally, I wouldn't have thought sealers to be successful as you'd need to put it on the inside as well as the outside and surely, being in constant contact with damp compost would render it ineffective!??

12 Jan, 2016


Very disappointing but you'll not be short if crocks for the bottom of the other containers...

The first picture looks rather like the man who advertises Go Compare? (We saw him on a downloaded Morse programme)

12 Jan, 2016


I bet others like me have picked them up to move and the whole thing fell apart !!!

I have Malaysian glazed pots some are over 15 years old tough as old boots and after a good scrub look like new.

Worse time ever I was at a garden center picked up a shrub (golden Yew) about a meter tall in a plastic air pot and to my horror had no bottom to the pot and the whole plant went right through and landed on the floor compost was everywhere , I quickly put in back in and scooped up the compost.... quickly left ( I did feel bad)


12 Jan, 2016


I agree with you about the advert look-alike :)
The last one reminds me of Old Mother Riley!

I like pots of all sorts and was delighted when, a while back, I managed to buy lots of old terrocotta pots that had been buried in the garden of an old house after a bomb dropped on a greenhouse during the last war. Unfortunately some of those have succombed to frost/cold damage.

12 Jan, 2016


Ha,ha Stera, Have a plastic tub full of terracotta crocks.
Must have been a columnar plant to slip through you fingers, G-g.
Paul, I was thinking of applying the stuff inside and out it is colourless. We painted the inside of the back inside of our concrete back garage wall with black tanking paint up to about 1ft to stop water intrusion. Might have some of that left, to paint on the inside.
Gee, how lucky to find those, I expect being buried helped to protect them from the frosts, now exposed - oh dear!

13 Jan, 2016


Terracotta pots cannot be stored outdoors without having some cracking along the way. Is there anywhere indoors where you could store them?

13 Jan, 2016


Thanks loosestrife, it is not the storing, I could put the in the garage. It is when they are planted up during the frosty weather.

14 Jan, 2016


Yes, terracotta has to be dried and stored before the cold weather comes and taken out after the cold weather goes.

14 Jan, 2016


I do love terracotta, some of the more expensive pots will survive, but obviously the cheaper will fall apart at the first frost, we tend to wrap them in fleece or bubble wrap, and keep them off the ground, usually works, also keep them near to the house, it would take forever to paint ours lol

14 Jan, 2016


Thanks for the bubble wrap suggestion Dd, the blog was for you, know you like your planters on your pergola, with the Violas in them.

14 Jan, 2016


Yes I loved the planters, not seen any like that before...may have to go to Italy lol

14 Jan, 2016


I also think its what compost you use as if its multipurpose it expands if we have any minus temperatures.
less problem with JInnes

14 Jan, 2016


Dd, The ones on top of the pillar about 4x the size of yours, they would have to be to contain an Agave.
G-g another useful suggestion, thanks.

14 Jan, 2016


Wouldn't want that to fall on me then.....

15 Jan, 2016

Add a comment

Recent posts by siris

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    14 Aug, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    21 Nov, 2013

  • Gardening with friends since
    2 Dec, 2011

  • Gardening with friends since
    22 Oct, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    3 Sep, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    18 Sep, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    14 Jul, 2012

  • Gardening with friends since
    22 Jun, 2011

  • Gardening with friends since
    17 Nov, 2014