This Is My Best Kept Secret for Shopping the Best Garden Finds (It Always Works!)

published Mar 21, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Amber Kelly

Like at many thrift store chains, the prices on Facebook Marketplace have gotten a little out of hand. A mere five years ago, I used the platform to furnish an entire one-bedroom apartment for less than $1,000. Now I can’t find an unstained lounge chair for under $200. What once felt like a virtual yard sale swarming with deals now resembles an overpriced antique mall I can no longer afford.

But there’s one timeless piece I’ve still been able to grab for a price so low it almost feels like stealing: large terracotta pots.

I’m not talking about the basic planters you grab at a nursery, but instead the statement-making antique-style containers that make your front porch look like an ancient Roman courtyard. The more aged and weathered, the better — but also definitely more costly if you buy “new.”

Vintage-style pots less than 8 inches tall will run you around $30 from big brands like Pottery Barn, Rejuvenation, and World Market. But once you press that 15-inch and taller filter, the prices skyrocket into the hundreds. 

Sadly, thrift stores aren’t much better. Rarely do I spot large containers for less than $75. Instead of opting for either option, I decided to engage in some online sleuthing — and it’s definitely paid off. I’ve now bought several terracotta pots on Facebook Marketplace up to 16 inches tall, priced as low as $15.

I haven’t even told you the best part yet. Because most people are trying to offload these ASAP and don’t want to deal with the pain of repotting, they’re listing them with the plant included.

How to Find Terracotta Pots on Facebook Marketplace

Typing “terracotta pot” into the search bar is an obvious first step. Anyone familiar with the platform knows there’s a lot of scrolling and sifting involved when you search for something general. But FB Marketplace is a game, and if you want to find the diamond in the rough, you have to follow the golden rule:

The less specific the listing, the lower the price.

Searching phrases like “antique terracotta” or “aged terracotta” might yield the exact pots I’m looking for, but they also yield higher prices because the seller knows exactly what they have. If I’m trying to score a deal, I don’t want to buy from an interior designer who’s familiar with the brand and rarity of a specific piece. I want to buy from someone who just sees a dirty old flower pot they’re trying to get rid of.

So I like to search for the following:

  • Large planter
  • Large pot
  • Clay pot
  • Pots (to reach the people who are trying to offload a bunch of pots at once)

These catch-all terms require more digging, but like spending an afternoon rummaging through a thrift store, it’s almost always worth it. And if that initial search comes up empty, I’ll pivot to the plant itself.

As mentioned earlier, the cheapest (and biggest) terracotta pots I’ve found are listed with the plant included. So if I’m hunting for a pot that can hold a tree, cactus, or some other giant green friend, I’ll tailor my search to include those keywords. If I’m lucky, I might stumble upon a listing for someone who’s trying to get rid of their massive ficus and the pot it comes in. At the time of this writing, I’m scheduling a pickup for that exact combo for $20.

Tips for Buying Used Terracotta Pots

If you’re finally ready to say goodbye to the cheap plastic pots you’ve had since college, Facebook Marketplace is a great place to start. But before you make the transaction official, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Make Sure You Can (Realistically) Move It

The weight of these pots is the main reason people decide to sell them for cheap — especially if they come with a built-in plant. These things are heavy with a capital “H.” So before you commit to a purchase, make sure you have the right vehicle, manpower, and moving gear to transport it safely.

Do Your Homework

If you’re purchasing a pot-and-plant combo, do your research on the plant itself. I once bought a pot with an attached fire plant succulent that I naively trimmed without realizing that its sap can cause severe skin irritation. Learn from my mistakes.

Always Negotiate

This goes for every Facebook Marketplace purchase: Always wager a lower price. You have nothing to lose by asking, and you’d be surprised at how willing people are to haggle for the sake of getting rid of something quickly.

If you can offer same-day pickup, you’ll have even more leverage to negotiate — and more room in your budget to buy more plants.