Spring is the season for McCoy planters, those whimsical vessels glazed in the prettiest of pastels. To imagine the hues, think of buttercream frosting – those swirls of mint blue, ballerina pink, pale aqua and butter yellow – and you’ve got it. Such sweet hues enliven spring décor, whether at an Easter brunch, a Mother’s Day lunch or a bridal shower.

In 1910, a father-son team founded McCoy in clay-rich Roseville, Ohio, to produce decorative glazed pottery. Soon, dime stores and hardware stores all over America sold McCoy vases, bowls and planters. After decades of making everything from bird-topped wall vases to pig-shaped cookie jars, the factory closed in 1990.

Today, GasLamp carries many fine examples of this highly collectible pottery. And since McCoy planters are not particularly expensive, they’re perfect for gift-giving, especially this spring (think: Easter and Mother’s Day).

McCoy’s early 19th-century jardinières were glazed in two tones.
Photo by David Wariner

During the 1920s and 1930s, McCoy produced blended pottery glazes, as seen on this McCoy jardinière that is finished in both pink and blue ($45; Booth T-380). One can discern this jardinière’s age by examining its embossed features of berries and leaves, which are softer than those of later pieces that reveal crisper lines.  

Shades of aqua blue remain the most popular among McCoy collectors.
Photo by David Wariner

Swags of leaves surround the nosegay embossed on this McCoy planter ($65; Booth B-106). The various aqua glazes that emerged in the 1920s and continued through the 1950s remain highly sought-after and exist in a range from green-toned to light turquoise. This planter’s matte aqua blue, with faint crazing, is the perfect Easter-egg shade for spring.

This pair of McCoy flowerpots is glazed in the palest of pink shades.
Photo by David Wariner

McCoy introduced flowerpots with attached saucers in the 1930s. In the 1940s, it debuted a rainbow of new pastel finishes, including pink, blue, yellow, aqua and lavender. These flowerpots in pale pink with attached saucers result from these style developments ($45; Booth T-280). Each features a flared shape and vertical bands – a streamlined design indicative of the era – and a subtle spatter pattern over the pink glaze.

This blue McCoy planter could also be used as a candy dish.
Photo by David Wariner

From McCoy’s Capri line, this planter features a textured blue “pebble” finish on its exterior and a glossy pink interior ($75; Booth T-379). Issued in 1957, the McCoy “Contemporary Ceramic Group Capri” line channeled the atomic vibe in an ultra-modern way. Each piece featured a contrasting interior and pebbled exterior. Asymmetrical shapes made this line especially Jetsons-esque.

A drain hole and attached saucer make this McCoy flowerpot practical.
Photo by David Wariner

Produced in the 1950s, McCoy’s basket-weave pattern planters, like this one, represented midcentury modern flair ($38; Booth B-395). Fired in a green glaze with darker striations, this planter features graphic incised and opposing lines. Conveniently, such planters were made in various shades so that the savvy collector can gather multiples for a candy-colored display.

McCoy pottery maintains a special place in collectors’ hearts for its colors, motifs and forms. And since no other vintage pottery looks so good with plants and flowers growing inside, McCoy planters are a must-have for springtime decorating, gardening and gifting.