5 Smart Reasons Why Plant Pots Are Tapered!

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Have you ever wondered why most planters are tapered?

That is, why are they usually narrower down toward the base? Wouldn’t this cause plants be knocked off easier? Well, there are several good reasons why planters are shaped this way.

Plant pots are often built in a tapered shape where the narrower end is at the base. Tapered pots offer many advantages over other shapes, such as:

  • Easier to re-pot and clean
  • Easier to stack
  • Easier to carry and transport
  • Better at capturing water and oxygen
  • More profitable for businesses

Let’s learn more about the practicalities of a tapered pot!

Easier to Re-pot and Clean

Tapered pots are more manageable to re-pot because there is a larger surface area on the top for the soil to be tipped out. Plastic pots with tapered sides can be tapped out of the container.

In situations of wet soil, you can easily dig out the soil and have an easier time cleaning the pot.

Flower pots in the shape of a triangle or a narrow neck are not intended for soiled plants. They’re more so vases intended for water plants. You’ll notice that these planters don’t have drainage holes because they’re not designed for soil. Attempting to extract soil out of these bottle-necked pots would be a nightmare.

Easier to Stack

Tapered pots save space by stacking on top of each other. This is an important feature for both businesses and consumers.

For businesses, owners can stock more supplies of pots in the same amount of space. No shelves are needed; simply stack them together for display and sale.

Tapered pots being able to stack means savings in shipping costs that are being delivered from the manufacturers to the nursery.

I recently went to Bunnings Warehouse to check out how popular tapered planters were at retail stores. For those unfamiliar with Bunnings, it’s the Australian version of The Home Depot in America.

I went to the planter isles, and to no surprise, there was an abundance of tapered pots:

Tapered Pots on Shelves

This should be a familiar sight if you’ve been to a nursery or gardening supply warehouse. You can see the efficient use of shelving space by stacking.

Other planters that are cylindrical or have unusual shapes cannot be stacked, such as these ones:

Planters with unique and fun designs often attract a higher price point to compensate for the higher unit cost and display inefficiencies.

Easier to Carry and Transport

Tapered pots are easier to lift from the ground, especially at heavier weights. 

Cylindrical pots, for example, require a grip from the base of the pot. Getting your fingers underneath can be challenging (and painful), especially when the base is facing flat onto the ground.

With tapered pots, you can lift it easily from the sides as if you’re lifting a fish bowl. And then, you can transfer the pot from indoors to outdoors or wherever else you desire.

Better at Capturing Water and Oxygen

Tapered pots with a wide surface area at the top are better at capturing water during rainfall. This is perhaps of greater significance for larger plants and trees because they absorb water much faster. And in zones where rainfall is scarce, the shape of a pot can make a difference to the water it gets from changing weather conditions.

And as tapered pots are slanted inwards towards the base, gravity directs the water moisture towards the base. This is what you want to be able to drain excess moisture from the soil to prevent root rot.

Having a wider surface also allows better contact with oxygen. Roots need a source of oxygen in the soil to grow through the little air pockets.

More Profitable for Businesses

Retailers love stackable tapered pots because they can stock and sell more in the same rental space. They can be ordered in larger quantities in the same shipping truck, thus saving shipping costs.

In Bunnings Warehouse, I found a display of tapered pots in the outdoor area. These were still stacked in a palette. In the below picture that I took, there are probably at least 300 planters on a single pallet.

Planters that can’t be stacked would have to be placed on shelves. This isn’t the best use of commercial space. 

Given the practicality of tapered pots over other designs, they are more popular amongst consumers, which means more sales for retailers.

Final Words

Tapered pots offer many practical advantages for consumers and retailers. For gardeners, it makes it easier to clean and tip out the soil during re-potting. For businesses, the slanted sides give stacking capabilities, making efficient use of retail space.

Now you can understand and appreciate that most pots are tapered for these reasons!

Plantician Guy (Mike)

Hi I'm Mike, a self-proclaimed plantician (an invented profession to describe a plant enthusiast). Based in Sydney Australia, I enjoy the great outdoors and the greenery things around the garden, in particular, indoor climbing plants.

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