Terracotta Containers

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I decided to go ahead and get some Terracotta containers to start out a few of my cooler weather crops in soon. I did a little reading, and there are a lot of comments saying that they should be soaked before use because they're so porous. Is this entirely necessary? I'm a little worried because two of my pots I'd probably have to soak in the bathtub to successfully drench them :rolleyes:

One issue I've read (fyi I'm brand new to containers) is that containers really need drainage. I plan on having a high percentage of sphagnum peat, which they say retains it very well. But if it retains it too well the roots could become waterlogged. So, I was considering NOT soaking the pots and letting the terracotta drain the soil for me. Is that a horribly misguided idea? :D


Super Moderator
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One thing that will help with drainage in your pots is stones in the bottom and maybe mix a little sand in you potting mix. Peat and moss are good for amending soils that drain to well or that will not absorb water. So if you can change the ration of peat you can amend your drainage.
It is good to soak your pots because they tend to remove the moisture from the soil otherwise. But it is not necessary, you will just need to water more often, if in fact your soil drains and dries out. With the peat you may not need to. I suggest you get a moisture meter to help you know when you need to water;)


Super Moderator
Staff member
I found that the combination of peat and clay pots is ok for plants that like drier soil conditions. What i'm saying is that the pots leach the moisture out of the peat (even if it ammended with perlite) fairly quickl! You will need to keep an eye on soil moisture, and using a moisture meter will help you with when to water and when not to water! So, you will be watering more frequently then you would if the pots where made out of plastic! In either case covering the bottlom of the pots with stonewill aid in drainage if you water too often!
Needless to say, I always use plastic containers as they are easier to use and I don't have to worry about the pots cracking due to freeze thaw cycle during the winter months were as clay pots will crack!
Thanks for the thoughts. I decided to go ahead and soak them in my tub. I'm glad I did because I underestimated how much these pots will absorb! There's almost always a ring around the edge of my pot of dry soil because the pots sucked it out. At least they'll never get water-logged xD
Yes it does. I've noticed as I've been using them. I have some plants in a sealed terra cotta container I got (I'm not sure with what, but it has been painted and retains moisture almost TOO well o_o). But I have to water them very often. So, I think they're wonderful for plants that like more-drained soil, but for some others it's just not a good fit.

I often call my boyfriend from work during the heat of the day and beg him to water my plants ^^;


Super Moderator
Staff member
I have many clay pots and they are all outside. In Florida we have high humidity but with coastal winds we dry out fast. I water my clay pots every other day. I always over water because they do dry out so fast.My big pots I will fill to the top rim several times and let the water seep out. This helps to keep the pot from stealing all the moisture. Once you get in to a rhythm of how fast your conditions cause drying it will be eaasy to keep them watered. I should post a few pictures for you.

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