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Choosing Pots Wisely For Your Houseplants

Apr 2, 2008
When you are considering plants for an indoor garden, the pot that you choose to go with it is more important than you might think. Not only is the pot important for how the plant looks in your home, but it is very important to the plants health and survival as well.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that the pot the plant comes in is right for it. The plant may not be able to thrive in that pot. Once it grows a little, you will likely have to re-pot to give the roots room to grow. If you give the plant a little more room at first, you will be able to wait much longer before repotting.

Color and material are important for the style you want in your home. The size is more important for function, as well as style. It is common to have to repot plants every couple of years. If you choose a large pot compared to the plant size, the roots will be able to grow freely, with plenty of nutrients from all of the soil. Because of the extra nutrients, the plant will grow faster, making you need to repot faster than you would think. You shouldn't add too much size though. Too large of a pot will retain too much water for the plant to stay healthy.

If you choose a small pot to start with, there are less nutrients, but they are present in a higher concentration. Since there is less room for the plant to grow, the roots will be constrained and the plant will grow more slowly. With the higher concentration of nutrients, but constrained roots, the amount of time before repotting is about the same as a large pot. The most important thing to remember if you choose a small pot is to not allow the plant to become root bound.

Choosing an average size pot is probably the best option to avoid problems with water retention or with roots unless you are caring for a Kentia palm which likes crowded roots.

When you do need to repot, you should choose a pot with about 1-2 inches more in diameter around the rim to allow your plant to grow without restrictions.

In addition to the size of the pot, you must take drainage into consideration. Around 90% of indoor plants are over watered, causing some to die. When a plant is watered too much, or if the water doesn't drain quickly enough, diseases can infect the plant more easily. Mold, mildew, and fungus all thrive in damp conditions, for example.

To find a pot that drains well, you should look for ones with plenty of moderate sized holes on the bottom. The holes should be large enough for water to get out, without being so large that you loose a lot of soil. If the holes are larger, you can cover them with mesh to keep soil in while letting water out. If the holes are too small, they will become plugged up.

As you can see, there are many things to consider when purchasing pots for your plants. Appearance, size, material, the drainage are key factors to consider. You need to keep your plants needs in mind when choosing a pot.
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