That perennial choice of terracotta pots not only remains a garden standard for obvious reasons of practicality, but this year’s garden trends feature both the medium and color terracotta in new and creative ways to warm up any setting.

According to the newest Garden Trends report from GardenComm, terracotta is going to be a top choice for gardens and more. “Terracotta can add warmth and vibrancy to a decorating scheme, used to liven up many different interiors,” the report states how terracotta is going beyond flower pots no matter where you garden.

“It can be used as a highlight color amongst a more gentle, contemporary color palette. Add graphic patterns, cushions, and rugs. Embrace the joy and optimism typical of the ’70s decade with curved shapes, handmade finishes, macramé, and fun details such as fringes. Match white and earthy tones with materials derived from the earth — such as terracotta and Moroccan-inspired ceramics, but also the dry and sculptural colors typical of desert environments.”

When we think of terracotta, sunny and warm climates come to mind — the colorful orange-hued, tiled rooftops of Spain or Italy or Mexico for example. Terracotta definitely evokes a feeling of “place and climate too.” But there’s history behind it as well.

The Garden Trends report notes that in Europe, the color orange didn’t have a name until the 16th century. Before this, it was called yellow-red or saffron. Things changed when Portuguese merchants brought the first orange trees to Europe from Asia.

Deeply rooted in history, orange is a color with spiritual connotations, the trends report continues. It’s the color of transformation in Confucianism, the color of perfection and illumination in Buddhism, and a color used in the dress of Krishna in Hinduism.

In Western culture, orange is associated with feelings of warmth, excitement and amusement. It was the signature color of the decade between the ‘60s and the ‘70s – the swinging ’60s, a time of change, peace, love and psychedelic aesthetic. The ’70s aesthetics moved away from the psychedelic into more natural – Acid Orange into the beautiful terra-cotta we see today. Earth tones dominated this era, as the “earth movement” began in 1970 with the first Earth Day.

So how will you incorporate terracotta into your landscape?

Plant and accessory choices are endless when it comes to stocking the store with the color of the year. Have fun, be bold and think outside the container.

Try tried-and-true flowers from Bloomables® such as the Sombrero® Adobe Orange Coneflower, Tecoma “Red Hot,” and Veranda® Mango rose.

Terracotta hues abound in Coppertop® Sweet Viburnum, from Sunset Plant Collection. The new growth on this gorgeous and low-maintenance landscape star is dark maroon to terracotta, providing season-long appeal.

Look for the classic color in new container styles that appeal to all generations with the new lines from LBE Design. Form meets function with these indoor and outdoor containers. Solid construction and enduring handcrafted quality.

Perhaps all this talk of terracotta will have you digging out those fired clay pots and getting them ready for the coming spring. Terracotta pots are great for their ability to provide good drainage, but it is recommended that they be soaked overnight before filling with a good quality potting soil for planting. If you plan to reuse older or last summer’s pots, one online source suggests a bit of housekeeping for best results.

Step 1 — Remove any loose dirt from the pot. Use a stiff brush to clean as much dirt as possible from inside and outside the clay pot.

Step 2 — Soak clay pots in a weak white vinegar/water solution.

Step 3 — Run smaller pots through a dishwasher if you have one. For larger pots, thoroughly dry them in a sunny location.