Plants - Pots and Containers, Clay Pots, Plastic Pots and Glazed Pottery
Pots directly influence the growth, appearance, and needs of the plants they contain. They can be as casual as a coconut shell or a repainted coffee can or as formal as a glazed bonsai planter. Plastic and cloth bags, old whiskey and wine barrels, stoneware bowls, and pieces of driftwood can all be converted into unusual plant containers.
Whether or not a plant needs repotting depends on whether it will be actively growing or just maintaining its present state. You may want to repot the plant into a larger container just to allow it to continue growing. The new container should have the same drainage provisions as the old pot, such as a drain hole and saucer container. Extra room for soil, nutrients, and root growth will encourage the plant to flourish. The most common kinds of containers are described below.
Clay Pots - The standard clay pot is both functional and attractive. It comes in many shapes and sizes (generally ranging form 2 to 18 inches in diameter) and has a drainage hole in the bottom. Clay saucers may be sold with the pots or separately.
The unglazed porous clay allows air and water to move through the pot wall, so clay pots should be soaked in a basin of water for several hours before being planted. Otherwise, the dry clay will absorb too much water from the soil, robbing the new plantings of moisture.
Because they are porous, clay saucers eventually create water stains on surfaces where they're placed. To protect your furniture and floors, cut a round of cork 1/2 inch thick to fit beneath the saucer, or use a thick cork coaster. A more practical solution is simply not to use clay saucers; instead, choose moisture-proof plastic or glazed ceramic. Clay pots should be scrubbed clean with a stiff brush and warm water before they are reused. To sterilize them, run the pots through the dishwasher or put them in to the oven for 1 hour at 180 degrees F. They can also be soaked in a freshly prepared solution of 1 part chlorine bleach to 10 parts water.
Plastic Pots - Plastic pots are lighter and less expensive than clay and come in the same range of sizes. Since they are not porous, they retain moisture much longer, so plants in plastic pots need watering less often. Because air does not move through the plastic, these pots require soils with excellent drainage.
Glazed Pottery - Glazed pottery containers can be very decorative, lending a distinctive touch to almost any decor. They are available in a wide array of sizes and designs, including bonsai pots and trays that can be used for miniature landscapes or bulbs.
Some glazed containers have no drainage holes and are best used as cahepots for slightly smaller clay or plastic pots. You can camouflage the edges for the smaller pot inside the cachepot with a mulch of florist's sheet moss, sphagnum moss, bark chips, water-polished stones, small shells, or some other decorative top dressing.