Terracotta: The desire for aged beauty

“The beauty of handmade lies in the imperfections.”

There is something comforting about naturally worn, aged terracotta pots. Terracotta has a classical, timeless elegance found for centuries throughout the Mediterranean in the form of oil jars, urns, water vessels and plant pots.  Terracotta is a fantastic and versatile option and brings touch of old-world charm, perfect for gardens and terraces of a rustic Mallorca finca.

The word terracotta originates quite literally from the Italian translation “baked earth.” The term has been around since the 18th century, but the practice of firing clay has been around much longer. Terracotta, which is a type of earthenware, gets its reddish color during the firing process when iron content in the clay reacts with oxygen. 

The color of the terracotta pot or planter says a lot about its origin and how it was processed. Quality terracotta has an earthy red to a pale peachy color, not an orange or bitter-red hue.  Another way to check for quality is by gently tapping the pot – the higher the note, the better the quality.

The true beauty of terracotta is the aged patina that will develop on each plant pot over time. In fact, this is another standard by which you can gauge the quality of a terracotta plant pot. The desirable aged effect will not appear on machine-made terracotta pots because they have a dense, closed texture compared to the porous quality of handmade terracotta products. 

The white and grey powdery patina found on quality terracotta pots is called efflorescence, which in French means “to flower out.” Efflorescence occurs when mineral salts from the soil and water are absorbed by the porous terracotta clay, resulting in the aged patina that is so desirable.

When it comes to terracotta, Mashamba works exclusively with a brand that we know and trust, providing an exceptional range of range of pots, planters, urns and oil jars which are hand-crafted in Italy using traditional methods. The weathered look of our clay terracotta pots and planters have an aged character that looks even better with time. 

What makes our terracotta pots special?

The best Italian clay is blended to achieve a pale colour, and a special finish is added to create the weathered texture. All products are made by hand, using traditional press moulded techniques. Gentle air drying and firing at high temperatures in modern gas kilns ensures strength and durability for each pot and planter. In terms of both design and durability, our terracotta products are the best we have found, and they have passed the test of time in our garden and terrace projects.

Our quality terracotta pots are frost resistant and are made to withstand the extreme conditions of Mallorca’s climate. This is because they are fired in gas kilns at 1100C for 36 hours, which gives the clay optimal strength, resulting in pots that are extremely robust and durable. 

Terracotta is an ideal material for optimal growth conditions needed for plants to thrive. Due to its porous nature, air can flow through to the root of the plant and it retains moisture, but still allows the soil to dry out in between watering, which is ideal for many Mediterranean plants. Quality terracotta pots also slow down the transfer of heat between the soil and the outside environment, helping avoid sudden changes in temperature change which helps protect the plant.

We have a curated collection of terracotta pots and planters in our Mashamba Collection catalogue, available for order and delivery in Mallorca, Spain and all of Europe. Please contact Jennifer directly if you would like to discuss terracotta pots for your project. 

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