Talavera, Mexico’s Colorful Pottery

Whenever I see Talavera I’m transported to a sun-drenched climate and a culture unafraid of color. The hand-painted majolica-like pottery from Mexico comes in a vast array of platters, dinnerware and vessels for holding everything from casseroles to cacti. Of course, the challenge with any decorated pot is that it’ll call attention to itself at the expense of what it contains. So, what do you think? Do these pot-plant combos work? Is there one you like best? I’ll let the “winner” know.

#1 Design by Danielle Romero, Los Angeles, CA


#2 At Plant World Nursery, Escondido, CA


#3 At Fiesta del Reyes restaurant, Old Town, San Diego, CA


#4 At Proven Winners pack trials, Euro-American Propagators, Bonsall, CA


#5 Design by Jim Bishop (president, San Diego Horticultural Society)


#6 At Terra Sol Nursery, Santa Barbara, CA


#7 At Seaside Gardens Nursery, Carpinteria, CA


#8 Design by Plant World Nursery, Escondido, CA


#9 Design by Wanda Mallen, Fallbrook, CA


#10 Design by Susi Torre-Bueno (past-president of the San Diego Hort Society), Vista, CA



About Debra Lee Baldwin

Debra Lee Baldwin gardens on "an inhospitable half acre" in Escondido, CA, near San Diego. She is an award-winning photojournalist and artist with hundreds of articles and columns to her credit. Debra's books are Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens and Succulents Simplified. www.debraleebaldwin.com.

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20 Responses to Talavera, Mexico’s Colorful Pottery

  1. Lynn March 5, 2012 at 6:28 am #

    I also love the colors of Mexican Pottery. I even did a scrapbook page devoted to the colors of the pottery after my trip to Cancun.
    Thanks for posting. You have taken me back to my last vacation there! Thanks!

    Hi, Lynn — Colors as bright as Mexico’s sunshine! — Debra

  2. Lisa at Greenbow March 5, 2012 at 6:49 am #

    Love those colorful pots. I like them all but my favorite is #4 sitting there on a bench. It has the best combo of succulents to me. Any one of those pots would make a statement by itself.

    Hi, Lisa — I like the one at Proven Winners, too. Great plants! — Debra

  3. jdub March 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    Numero cinco! :-)

    IMHO, the vertical lines of the succulents enhance the colorful images in the pottery. When the plants dangle over the side of the container, there is conflict against the business of the designs.

  4. Cindy Davison March 5, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    My favorite composition that works with the container is #4 by Proven Winners…they’re the ‘winner’ in my opinion.

    I like that one a lot, too, Cindy. And as The Succulent Perch, scouring the Internet for photos of succulents in containers to post on Facebook, you know a good one when you see it! — Debra

  5. Jill Conger March 5, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    Yikes…looks like you might have turned me on to a new type of pot to love! I am liking #6 the best – I like how the “hot” edge colors of the plant are are echoed in the pot’s colors.

    And the shape of the leaves, too! — Debra

  6. fiona March 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    Found pottery just like this at Home Goods today~!

    You’ll be seeing it everywhere now that you’re aware of it ;+) — Debra

  7. Ian Cooke March 5, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    I love the colourful pottery but would love to see them planted with something plain and probably green. That would work. I remember once seeing a huge glazed red pot planted with just the silver filigree foliage of Lotus bertholettii – spectacular!

    Hi, Ian — That does indeed sound amazing. I agree, these photos are more about the plants than the pots, and the succulents sometimes overwhelm them. The pots, however, do tend to shout at the viewer. It’s hard to find something to put in Talavera that can hold its own. — Debra

  8. Susan Morse March 6, 2012 at 12:19 am #

    Oh my, I am in Heaven. It is so hard but I’d have to say my #1 is Number One. I’ve not seen a Talavera shoe before. This is so well done. It would go nicely next to my Ruby Red slippers. Thank you for sharing, MCF.

    Hi, Susan, The Lady Who Loves Color! This post is indeed perfect for you. — Debra

  9. Kathy Fitzgerald March 6, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    The shoe gets my vote. It’s darlin’.
    I have an article coming out in May’s Carolina Gardener magazine on designing with succulents for us poor echeveria-, aloe-, Euphorbia tirucalli-, and Senecio mandraliscae-deprived Zone 7 and 8-ers: you have rekindled my envy of the lucky “soles” (haha) who live in Zones 9b and 10.
    Thanks for the introduction to Talavera pottery, too. Lovely stuff.

    Hi, Kathy — Lucky “soles” indeed! Yes, we do have it made. But you can grow anything we can, you just have to be vigilant to protect the plants from excessive rainfall and frost. — Debra

  10. Fran Sorin March 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Debra….I’ll take any of them…they are stunning. My fave? #3…my eye kept on coming back to it. Thanks for a fun and ‘I wanna have’ post! :) Fran

    Hi, Fran — I like that one, too! The colors are wonderful. I could design a whole room around that one pot. — Debra

  11. MJ Martin March 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    #1 ! Does the shoe come in a size 8-1/2?
    Where is the best place to find these pots locally?

    Hi, MJ — In our area (San Diego), Old Town has the greatest concentration of Mexican import stores. Keep in mind that there are two basic types of Talavera. Those shown here are relatively inexpensive, and easy to find. But the high-fired Talavera that’s culinary grade comes mainly from Pueblo, and is signed by the artist. The difference in quality is evident if you see the two kinds side by side. — Debra

  12. Donna Minick March 6, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    I’d have to vote for #1, just because I like that sassy shoe. Nearly all are using succulents which really seems to help tone down the pots’ flamboyancy.

    Hi, Donna — Well, I have to confess, I pretty much shoot succulents because they’re my schtick. The Talavera wasn’t the main reason, but I did happen to notice a trend. — Debra

  13. jean March 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    I love them all but #1 is by far my favorite. Something unexpected is always a winner in my garden.

    Hi, Jean — The designer will be so pleased. I can’t wait to tell her! — Debra

  14. Lyn March 7, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    I can’t go past #1, but not sure if it’s the planting or just because it’s a shoe – such a great shape. I saw a nursery assistant here a few months ago trying to sell a painted pot like these to a customer and suggesting all kinds of plants to grow in it – most were tiny seedlings that would grow into large perennials or even shrubs. I bit my tongue but inside I was screaming: “Succulents! Succulents!”

    Lyn, succulents really are perfect for this sort of container because if the soil dries out, they simply draw on moisture stored in their leaves. I can imagine what else might do as well. — Debra

  15. Mir March 9, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    What a treat to see the Talavera featured.
    I’m living here in Baja and get to enjoy the vivid colors and combinations daily. My only wish is that we had more succulent varieties available.
    By the way, love the shoe!

    The designer, Danielle Romero, is happy to hear it. I think it’s the winner! — Debra

  16. Bridget March 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    My fav is #5. I also like #1, but mostly the the choice of succulents and colors, not hugely found of the shape of the shoe.

    Great idea though, going to have to find some of this pottery – we have lots of succulents overgrowing their boring pots, it’s time for something fun!

    Out with boring pots! Why not have COLOR in our gardens? We’re all kids at heart. At what point did we start preferring beige and earth tones? You’re right, Bridget, it’s time for fun! — Debra

  17. Valerie Gillman March 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    #3 for me. These disc shaped succulents can compete with the pot!

    Good point, Valerie. Plants need to be bold enough not to be overwhelmed by the Talavera. — Debra

  18. Candy Suter March 13, 2012 at 5:01 am #

    I know that almost everyone like #1 but I keep being drawn to #6. The color of the pot is awesome. It really brings out the design. Then having a single succulent with the dual colors in it that you can find in the pot colors is sooo beautiful! I would really like to get some of these amazing pots. I am going to cancun in a couple of weeks with my husband and another couple. We are celebrating 30 years anniversary. I can’t bring any pots back but I wonder if I can buy them there and they will ship them? Might be risky but wayyy cheaper!

    Hi, Candy — I’d love to see what you find! Maybe a post on Sweet Stuff Sassy Succulents? — Debra

  19. Lawn Care Denver March 22, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Those are absolutely stunning, what beautiful art and plants!

  20. jasonalonzo March 23, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    What a stunning garden pot, this is a combination of arts and gardening.
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