One of the first things to consider when deciding to start growing plants is how to plant them. Many gardeners take into consideration the lighting, soil type, location but many times overlook the actual container used to house the plant. While the other items are extremely important, understanding the container you are using can be just as important for optimal growth.
Today, we will take a look at one of the most popular container types for both indoor and outdoors, the terra-cotta pot! These pots are usually very cheap and easy to obtain making them a excellent first choice for many gardeners. However, there are some things to keep in mind when using them to ensure your plants reach their maximum potential.
The first thing to keep in mind when using terra-cotta pots, as well as any type of container, is the plant’s optimal grow size. The size of the pot is going to be a limiting factoring in the size your plant grows to. So if you’re looking to grow a large plant then you’ll need a pot sized to match. The opposite is true if you wish to grow a smaller plant.
Next, always make sure the pot your using is clean; especially if you’re reusing a pot. Scrub out any dirt or debris, and allow the pot to soak in warm, soapy water overnight. This prevents the spread of any sort of disease or pests from older plants to your new ones.
Before your put in the soil you’ll generally want to add some sort of loose, rocky mixture to the bottom of the pot. It’s generally suggested to use some sort of gravel or even broken pieces of pottery. This helps keep the soil from draining out after watering and serves to keep everything together. Do be mindful of how much yo add if you intend to plant a deep rooted plant.
Also, keep in mind how much you’re watering you plants. terra-cotta pots have the property of actually whisking away water from the soil. For those prone to over watering, this is generally a nice benefit. It makes it more difficult to over water your plants as some of the moisture is removed through the pot itself. However, if you are the type of gardener that under-waters, then take care to pay extra attention to your plants. You don’t want the pot getting more water than your plant!
Lastly, one thing you might notice is a white crust like layer on the outside of your plant. This is formed when salts in the water that are whisked by the pot from the soil into the pot wall. If you find this unsightly it can simply be scrubbed off. Do be careful not to scrub to hard though as it’s deceptively easy to break the pot.
At the end of the day, terra-cotta pots are an excellent choice for any level of gardener. They are very popular and cheap while still providing a perfectly healthy environment for your plants to grow. If you keep the above tips in mind, you’re sure to be growing beautiful plants in no time!