Pots: everything you need to know

Your plants' pots are their home. Inside the pot is the substrate, where they get water and nutrients to grow and develop, so they are not a trivial choice, as many factors that can contribute to (or delay) the proper development of your plants will depend on it.

Don't panic, we are here to teach you everything you need to know about pots and how to choose the perfect one for your little plant.

Size does matter

First of all, let's talk about the diameter of the pot. remember when you were an infant and they bought you clothes or shoes a couple of sizes too big and it was super uncomfortable? Something similar happens with plants. It is not worth exaggerating here, that a giant pot is not always ideal for your plant, but the opposite extreme is not ideal either.

A pot that is too big concentrates moisture for too long and will make your plant prone to waterlogging and its roots will suffer from root rot. If the pot is too small for the plant it will tend to tip over under the weight, the substrate will dry out too quickly, it will not have enough food and the roots will be too close together, affecting its growth.

Ideally, a plant should be potted in a pot that is 5 to 10 cm in diameter larger than its previous pot. You can look for a larger pot for those species that grow very fast, but don't overdo it. Another way to choose the size of the pot is to know the final size of your plant according to its species.

Choose a pot that is half the final size of the plant. For example, for plants that grow about 50 cm tall, look for pots that are about 30 cm. For one-metre plants, look for a pot about 50 cm in diameter.

The depth of the pot is also as important as the diameter, as it is the space the plant will have to develop its roots and will determine its vertical growth. There are species that do not have very deep roots, such as cacti and succulents, so you can plant in shallow pots. Otherwise, it is best to look for deep pots. The plant will tell you if it's deep enough: if it's not, you will see that the plant will bend over, peeling the substrate away from the pot and you will see the roots peeking out.

Pay attention to the material

It is possible to find pots made of all the materials you can imagine. From the typical plastic, to porcelain, clay and even acrylic.

The choice of material is not just a matter of aesthetics, but can also influence the humidity levels of your plant.

Plastic pots have their advantages. They are inexpensive, light and durable but they also prevent the rapid removal of water from irrigation. For this reason they are perfect for plants that require high humidity levels, but if they are subjected to direct sunlight they have a major flaw, because they absorb solar radiation and can subject the roots to high temperatures.

Clay and terracotta pots are a little heavier and more expensive, but being a porous material they allow water to evaporate more easily. This is ideal for plants that do not tolerate waterlogging and prefer a rather dry substrate. You have to be careful with them in frost, as they can be broken by sudden changes in temperature. Ceramic pots are not only very pretty, but they are a little less porous than clay and allow moisture to be retained for a little longer.

If your thing is an aesthetic issue, then you should know that you can put your plant in the pot of the material that best suits its watering needs but cover it with a decorative pot. There are decorative pots that are very fun shapes and materials but do not have drainage holes, because the goal is that inside them you place another functional pot, a little smaller but with drainage and the appropriate material. The great thing about the decorative pots is that you can vary them to your liking, because all you have to do is move the inner pot.

This is non-negotiable: drainage

While the size of a pot, the depth and material may vary according to your taste and the needs of the plant species, there is one detail that is universal for all pots: drainage. Whenever you go to buy a new pot to transplant your green companions into, you should check that it has sufficient and ample drainage holes. A pot without drainage is the equivalent of the Titanic in slow motion for your plants: you will see them drown very slowly.

Poor drainage contributes to root rot, so it must have holes that allow water to flow through. To prevent them from becoming clogged with substrate, it is advisable to add a layer of pebbles, lava rocks or even shredded unicellulose. This makes it easier to remove excess water and will keep your plants happy. If you use decorative pots, it is a good idea to take them out and let them drain after watering or remember to drain any excess water that may have been trapped in the decorative pot.

I like to think of pots as outfits that my plants can wear. They can become a decorative accessory, which can be chosen not only in terms of colour, but also in terms of materials, height and design.

And don't forget to check out Be.Green's accessories section, I bet you'll find the perfect pot for your plant to match your decor.

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About the author
Ame Rodríguez

Dedicated to creating an army of cacti, succulents, poodles and cats to help me conquer the world. In the little free time I have left, I play, write and dance.

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