Terra Cotta is probably the most common type of planter, don’t you think?
And no wonder – they’re inexpensive, reasonably durable, and won’t topple as easily as a plastic pot will. (I’ve fought this battle one time too many!)
Likely you have a few around already. I sure do and when I decided to give this project a try, I headed to my garden shed to pick out a few.
Obviously these had seen a plant or two in previous seasons. They only needed a little cleaning up though to be ready to go again.
Terra Cotta Planters – Mottle Style
A few weeks ago when I showed you how to mottle paint, you guys shared some fantastic ideas for ways to use the technique. One reader, Kim, suggested painting terra cotta pots to make the flowers really stand out.
I couldn’t agree more and, in fact, was inspired by Kim’s comment to give it a try. Thank you, Kim! 🙂
(If you missed that post with the video tutorial on this technique, you can watch it here.)
Before You Start
Obviously, you’ll want to coordinate the colors you choose with the plants you use. So before you decide on paint, gather your plants. I used three common annuals: vinca, petunia, and portulaca.
I also added a bit of ivy in each pot to spill over the edges and add a little more interest. It will thrive in our gardening zone, and I’ll be able to use it far beyond this season.
It’s always a good idea with the mottle technique to give your project a good base coat. I used an off-white, which works well with the other colors of paint. You can choose to completely cover it or have some peek through – whichever you prefer.
You’ll also want to paint a few inches inside the top of the pot so none of the original clay color shows after you transplant your flowers.
For the mottled effect I wanted bright and bold to match the flowers and chose:
- Woodland Green – Deco Art Americana multi-surface satin
- Brilliant Pink – Folk Art acrylic
- Cardinal Red – Folk Art matte finish acrylic
- Brilliant Purple – Deco Art Americana acrylic
I also wanted all of the colors to show, so went light on the blending. I started on the sides by swiping the brush in X’s, which created a lattice-type pattern. Then, I went over the areas that were still mostly white until I got happy with how it looked, leaving a bit of white peeking through.
Finally, I gave them a clear coat to seal the paint and keep them looking great all season.
I don’t know about yours, but our spring and summer growing season gets terribly hot and is often dry. Keeping plants looking their best all season long is a challenge.
Has this ever happened to you: You buy some pretty plants. pot them up, watch them grow, and by August they look like they need to be totally chunked?
It’s happened to me more times than I care to admit, but this year I’m armed with some great information thanks to my friend Jami from An Oregon Cottage. Last year I read her fantastic tutorial on how to have gorgeous container gardens all season long.
I’ve followed Jami’s advice for all of my containers this spring and am so looking forward to missing that late summer decline.
I love these bright, bold planters that will coordinate perfectly with the abundance of blooms I’ll have soon. No commercial pot can do that!
I hope you’ll give these mottled terra cotta planters a try for your potted plants this season. You can create planters that coordinate perfectly with your blooms – or even go with a more neutral palette if you prefer.
Don’t forget that you can share your projects here on the blog. I’d love to show off your planters too!
What colors would you use?