Looking to use terracotta pots for your next plant? There a few things you need to know to use them the best way possible.
One thing to know is terracotta pots are made from baked clay. Terracotta is literally Italian for “cooked earth”.
The red/orange coloring comes from the the iron content in the clay that reacts with oxygen. Pretty cool fact, right?
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And I adore how they’re super on trend right now! I even used them as a tablescape for a home I helped style.
Terracotta Pot Pros
Terracotta pots have a lot of pros. They’re great for plants because they’re porous and allow air and water to flow through them. This helps prevent root rot or soil disease which could kill your plants. They can be used both indoors and outdoor – great for a place like MN where I live!
They have drainage holes on the bottom and come with matching saucers which also helps water to flow through and prevent soggy soil. The drainage hole helps your plant not retain too much water!
They’re inexpensive. You can keep costs low when adding plants to your home by getting terracotta pots! You can get an 8 inch pot from Home Depot for just $3.47 or 6 5″ pots from Amazon for under $25. That’s amazing!
They’re timeless. Terracotta plants go with everything and if you decide you’re over the color, they can be painted any color!
They can be used indoors OR outdoors. This is especially helpful for plants that you leave outside during warm months and take inside during colder months.
Terracotta Pot Cons
There are a few issues that come with using terracotta pots but not many!
First up, they crack from the cold (or being mishandled). You need to be gentle when using terracotta pots, especially when you’re moving them to different locations or handling them in the cold.
They can require more frequent watering than in other non – porous pots. Like metioned above, terracotta pots are made from baked clay. This makes it super easy for water to pass through the pot which helps with things like preventing root rot, but it will often time mean you need to water your plant more.
I’ve been using terracotta pots for years and have learned a few tricks on how to best use them. Do these 3 tricks for your next plant baby!
3 Tips When Using Terracotta Pots
Tip 1: Soak your pot!
The number one rule of thumb when using terracotta pots is to soak them prior to use them! Fill up a sink and soak them overnight or at least for 30 minutes prior to potting them.
These pots are made out of clay so doing this will prevent the pot from stealing of your plants precious water.
It’s also great entertainment for toddlers. 😉
Tip 2: Use a coffee filter.
No, this tip isn’t just because I love my coffee. 😉 Terracotta pots typically have drainage holes in the bottom. By putting a filter in the pot you’ll keep the soil in the pot but allow the water to still drain.
Don’t worry if your pot is still wet from soaking it. (Roy, my toddler, was very concerned about that when I put the coffee filter in haha!)
Simply press it into the bottom and against the sides. When you add soil try to keep the soil from falling in between the filter and the pot but it’s ok if a little bit slips in).
Tip 3: Use a plastic saucer for under your pot.
Because the saucer that you get with your pot is also made out of clay, there’s a good chance it will ruin your floor or wood table/dresser/etc. when you water it.
Save your home and put a plastic saucer like these from Amazon underneath your pot! It doesn’t necessarily need to be plastic but something that will go in between your pot and carpet or wood.
And that’s it! Super simple things that will make a huge difference the next time you use a terracotta pot.
How to Clean Terracotta Pots
You may notice that after some time your pot will develop a white residue. The pots will start to absorb the minerals in the soil and will tarnish the pots. They’re actually super easy to clean with just a little bit of work!
First you’ll want to remove the plant. The easiest way to get all the dirt out is to let it dry before scraping it out. Use a stiff wire brush to scrape away all of the dry dirt and get the pot fully cleaned out.
Next soak it in vinegar! This will help to not only clean but also disinfect it which is vital if you’ll be using the pot for a new plant. Use a ratio of 1:4 vinegar to water.
That should take away all of the scum on the pot! If there’s still a bit left, you can use a baking soda and water mixture to finish up the cleaning.
The final step is soaking it in bleach. Bleach can be damaging to terracotta pots so use it sparingly! Use a ratio of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Soaking it in bleach will remove any fungus that could possibly be lingering.
What’s your favorite kind of plant to have in your house?
Thanks for reading!