Once you get into owning plants, you quickly get into finding some cool planters, the least ubiquitous, the better. Luckily, where it takes some homework to find the right plant to survive your mostly-shaded bedroom corner—books like The House Plant Expert, by D.G. Heyasson, GQ’s guide to ordering plants online, and Instagram—buying planters is a bit easier. You don’t have to do anything but look at them.
We’ve arranged a flotilla of planters by, what else?, flex level—from classic terra cotta to colorful to avant-garde and beyond. The more you pack plants into your space (read the “Deco Room with Plants” series, by Green Fingers’ Satoshi Kawamoto), the wilder you can get. But if you just have a couple cacti, there are options, too.
A&B Home: Cheap (and Accurate) Mid-Modern Redux
A fine mid-century-inspired option—if you squint right (or you’re a little drunk), this planter could pass for one actually created in that decade—at a really good price point. The thin legs here make it. So many reproduction attempts at classic 1950s hairpin legs are executed wrong: a bad angle, or too bulky.
A&B Home set of 2 metal planters
Understated, Affordable, and Well-Designed Starter Pots
Cool planters aren’t like Formula 1 cars: they’re unbranded, and minimal, and don’t have to be expensive to work well. There are a handful of strong, simple designs that cost less than a night at the movies (if that ever happens again). Here are three: this minimal stoneware planter by Seattle design shop Glasswing, a trio of small Portuguese terra cotta pieces by CB2, and a two-toned, tapered model by Rejuvenation, available in four colors.
Glasswing minimal planter
Rejuvenation “Whitney” tapered planter
CB2 3-piece “Santino” planter set
Areaware: Eye-Catching Design for Under $100
Areaware’s signature model, available in terra cotta and ceramic, is creatively designed, with its saucer baked into the planter. What comes out is a smooth sculptural piece both at odds with other planters and in tune with them, though the stacked rings might not attract birds as well as the power line insulators that inspired their design.
Areaware stacking planter
Menu: Quiet Glass Vases for Flowers
Sometimes you need a clear glass vase for a flower or two or for a dining room centerpiece, and a vase that goes green is an even better thing to have around. This Troll vase, designed by Norwegians Torbjørn Anderssen and Espen Voll for Swedish design firm Menu, looks like an overturned cup, and the amber is somber. I picture it working with any flower.
Menu Troll vase in amber
$100.00, Home Coming
Helen Levi: Warm, Painted Stoneware
The potter Helen Christgau Levi imbues warmth and charm into her vases, dishes, bowls and mugs—and tissue boxes!—but it’s the planters that give off the most zoned-out, 1970s Danish vibe. Even if your cactus dies, things will feel OK with this thing around.
Helen Levi Meadow planter
$115.00, Helen Levi
Air-Pots: Outdoor Plant Tech that Looks Funky as Hell Inside
Air pots are made of recycled plastic and their aerated growing systems stimulate good growth. People who grow giant onions and industrial marijuana recommended them, and if it’s good enough for them it’s probably fine for the rest of us. Though the pots are best used outdoors—dirt can fall out on filling—they could be worth a gamble inside, what with the nice little color infusion and ‘70s plastic. Just get a deeper saucer and accept the occasional spot vacuuming.
Vondom: The Avant-Garde Planter
Planter shapes tend to be as organic as the flora they house, so it’s refreshing to see this angular number from Vondom. Though asymmetrical, it feels fat—by which I mean, it fills space well. And it can work inside and outdoors.
Vondom FAZ planter
Jay Scotts: A Designer Window Planter
Some plants need a lot of light, and window planters, like this Jay Scotts model, are the best way to ensure they get that. Decent in regulation white or grey fiberglass
, the smart play here are the primary color options: why not a yellow window planter?
Bonn Low rectangular planter
$346.00, Planters Etc.
Vita Garden: A Futuristic Ecosystem
Yes, this is an insanely industrial, kick-ass robot-looking self-watering planter on wheels. How anthropomorphic! It’s kind of like a play tea set that transcends biological kingdoms.
Vita Garden World Garden In/Outdoor self watering garden
$215.00, Home Depot
Georg Jensen: Danish Heavy Metal
Danish design company Georg Jensen released this haunting, chromed-out planter this year and it’s way cheaper than something this well-thought out should be. But who’s complaining? You can turn it upside down when the plant grows too big. Mirrored stainless steel is rarely set next to green plants, and is pause-worthy here. This planter is, I think, already a design classic.
Georg Jensen Terra reversible planter
$269.00, Georg Jensen
Samson & Cie: The Full Downton Abbey
These planters are nice because looking at one feels like you’re having high tea, but really you’re just watering your Sansevieria cylindrica.
Planter and Decorative Dish Attributed to Samson & Cie
$19773.00, 1st Dibs
Architectural Pottery: Customizable California Mid-Century Ceramics
Architectural Pottery, from California, offers a wealth of the pared-down, mid-modern planter designs that adorned Case Study houses. Founded by Lagardo Tackett, the Tinker Hatfield of ceramic designers, and featuring many of his designs, AP now makes planters that are more affordable than the Tackett originals produced in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Back then, the planters were mostly white, but AP offers some serious color options through a sort of customizable NikeID-type ordering process. Tackett’s hourglass TH-2 planter can’t be improved on, but there’s no rule saying you can’t finish it in purple.
Architectural Pottery TH-2 glazed planter
$579.00, Architectural Pottery
Gainey: The Planter Grail Find
Gainey, another popular California mid-century outfit, has been shuttered for years, but their vibrations live on in bright colors and warm shapes. Their simple, giant primary-color planters bring up the question of why similar options don’t exist elsewhere, though that scarcity just makes these more attractive. Rare in the wild, Gaineys can pop up on Chairish and 1stDibs, and are a nice complement to the warm, colorful Italian ‘70s furniture that’s all the rage right now.
Gainey California planter pot
Ettore Sottsass: Art that Also Holds Plants
There doesn’t seem to be a better investment on 1stDibs than this Ettore Sottsass planter, a quiet but airy masterwork by the man whose output is behind so much of what’s exciting in furniture and design. At $1,000, it’s not cheap, but it’s a Sottsass. It’s about three times as expensive as a designed planter. Is it three times as good? Up to you.
Ettore Sottsass “Mirto” flower vase, Japanese Urushi lacquer model
$1000.00, 1st Dibs
The Best Indoor Plants That Even You Can’t Kill
Beginner-friendly, low-maintenance greenery that can survive your occasional neglect.
The Best Online Shops for Ordering Plants
That’s right, filling your place with greenery no longer requires wandering the aisles of your local humid nursery. Here are four GQ-vetted companies that’ll help you find the perfect plants, then ship them to your spot.
Originally Appeared on GQ