When it comes to taking the best care of our plants, many of us spend time trailing through blogs, books and forums for the best tips and advice. But sometimes, in our search to do the very best for our plants, we neglect our plant's best friends, their pots! Or maybe pots are their homes?
Whatever relationship you envision between your plant and pot, one thing is clear; the bond is strong! So, to take care of one, we must take care of the other.
To help you on your plant care journey, we have pulled together an extensive guide on plant pots that covers everything from material and drainage to soil and size. No pot has been left unturned in this handy guide that aims to help you with all your potting questions. You’re welcome!
What Makes a Good Plant Pot?
If you’re someone that thinks aesthetics first when picking your home and garden decor, you might not like what we have to say. Of course, there are countless super cute plant pots out there, but just choosing the style that best fits your home is not enough. You need to put your plants' needs first.
The first thing you need to consider for your plant pot is whether it has sufficient drainage. This is important as plants can fall victim to root rot if left to sit in a pool of water, which is made worse if you have not quite grasped what enough or too much water for your plants is.
For this reason, we will always recommend that those new to gardening choose plant pots with drainage holes in the bottom. This allows some water to escape from the soil if too much has been given.
However, that does not mean that pots without drainage are totally useless, and more experienced gardeners can utilise them well. If you have a pot with no drainage, just remember to only water the plant with about one-third water capacity of the pot to ensure you’re not overwatering the plant.
You could always try filling the bottom of your pot with lava rocks or gravel beneath the soil to allow excess water to drain through.
When shopping for a plant pot, the most common materials you will find are plastic, wood and ceramic. If you want to know our favourite, we will always opt for a ceramic plant pot!
When we see any depiction of a plant pot, from stylised illustrations to even children’s media, pots are always shown to be classic terracotta. There’s a reason for this! Terracotta ceramic is a porous clay, making it the perfect choice for potting plants as it ensures the pot will always dry more evenly.
The only issue with terracotta pots is their weight and durability, and if dropped, they are most likely to crack and break.
When caring for seedlings, you might want to choose simple growing pots or plastic pots that you can pot and re-pot seeds and budding plants in as they grow. These will be easier and lighter to move around the garden or greenhouse.
What Size Pot Do I Need?
Before you buy seeds or a plant, you must first consider what pot you will plant them in. This is because it is essential to a plant's proper care and growth that you plant them in an appropriate pot.
Often plants are referred to and sold in sizes. However, this actually means the size of the pot they are sold in. The measurement is of the diameter of the top of the pot.
When buying a plant, you should plan to repot it in a container that is around 1-2 inches larger than the pot it arrived in. This ensures the plant has enough space to grow without becoming ‘pot-bound’. However, if the plant you are buying comes in a pot that is more than 10 inches wide, then you should plan to re-pot in a 2-3 inches larger container. The container should also be half the height of your plant.
Other times, the plant pot may be measured by the volume of the pot by litres; however, diameter is more common.
What's the difference between a pot and a planter?
You might also notice that the names ‘pots’ and ‘planters’ are used interchangeably. Sometimes they are the same, but there are a couple of key differences. Pots are usually used for a single plant and are often a smaller, round shape. They can also be used both indoors and outdoors.
Planters, on the other hand, are generally for outdoor use only and can house a number of plants in a display. Their size is also much more irregular!
What Soil Do I Put in my Pot?
Growing plants in pot containers can be difficult, as the soil can not regenerate itself or gain extra nutrients from the earth. The roots are also limited in their sprawling and depth that they can reach.
It is a common mistake for new gardeners just to fill their pots with soil from the garden, but often this won’t work for your plant. Garden soil is too heavy for use in containers and will become too compacted, making it nearly impossible for your plants to grow inside of it.
To find the best potting soil for your needs, it's best just to read the information of each label and type carefully. Many different varieties are available with options best suited to different plant types, like flowers, vegetables etc.
Potting Soil Checklist
Here are a few things to note when looking for potting soil to find the best option for your needs:
- Ensure that the medium is light and fluffy
- Look for good drainage that also holds moisture
- Choose a porous soil that allows water and air to reach the roots
- Avoid soils that have tiny bugs flying around it
- Avoid large amounts of bark or sand in the soil
- Avoid soil with an unpleasant smell
Don’t Forget to Re-Pot, and You’re Good to Go!
Sometimes when we’re not feeling our best and just need a new lease on life, we treat ourselves to a day of pampering and self-care to feel better. Well, your plant needs the same care and attention!
Repotting your plant gives it more room to grow and thrive. However, it doesn’t always have to mean going up a pot size; and instead can be a good opportunity to revitalise its nutrients. Keep an eye out for when your plant outgrows its current pot to determine when you should graduate it to a larger size.
Now you know all there is to know about plant pots, and you’re ready to continue on your green thumb journey!
To get started, explore our collection of indoor and outdoor plants available from Plants by Post, and find the perfect options to help your grow. Complete your selection with a range of plant pots also on offer from our collection, and choose expert plant care and food to help them flourish.