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In the Broadway musical, Annie, there’s a song titled, “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile.” No matter how fancy the clothes you wear are, or how expensive your perfume is, you are never fully dressed without a big wide-grinned, toothy smile.
Whenever I think about plants and pots, this song always comes to my mind. Plants are these lovely pieces of nature that we’re so privileged to grow inside our homes. Meanwhile, pots are just mere vessels that contain our green babies.
Or are they more than that?
Let me give you a mental image: Imagine yourself entering your dream cozy boho-themed living room. You’ve got the drift-wood from your last lake trip repurposed as a lamp, the shag pouf right beside the sofa, and the carpet from Morocco. And giving life to the decor are plants, and plants, and more plants!
But something’s aesthetically off, and that’s when you notice that the pots are all black – and they’re all plastic! Not only is it a mismatch with the room’s vibe, but it is also too kitsch.
Your plants, no matter how expensive or lush it may be, is only as good as the pots that house them. So today, on Plants Spark Joy, we talk about the technical as well as the decorative purpose of pots. You can’t be a certified plant lover without also loving pots and planters!
The Pot and the Planter
Generally, pots and planters serve the same purpose: to contain plants. Planters are often used to refer to containers for outdoor plants. They have different sizes and can hold many plants. Pots, on the other hand, are usually used to refer to smaller indoor containers and house only one plant. In this article, we are going to talk about pots specifically. But feel free to glean some learnings you can also apply for planters.
When to Repot and Why
If you’re like me and you prefer to get plants from the local market or greenhouse, chances are, these new plants are in plastic containers. Getting down and dirty maybe your least favorite part of owning plants, but it is very important.
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I finally repotted the lovely fiddle leaf fig I got back in January! The root ball was strangely a few inches smaller than the pot with an inch of open air on all sides. 🙈 I kept it in the same pot but loosened the roots a little and filled in the gaps with fresh soil (roughly 60% soil mixed with 40% perlite). I also wiped down the leaves with water and a few drops of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint Castile soap. I haven’t had any new growth since I got it, but it hasn’t lost any leaves either. Hopefully the fresh soil will make a difference! 🎵The music is “the kind of song you make up in your head when you are bored” by Lullatone.
Your plants need a fresh potting mix and a bigger pot to grow in. If you want it to be more healthy, you need to place it in a pot one size or two larger. Repotting also involves changing parts of the old potting mix while not stressing the roots. Our blog talks about specific plants and how to care for and repot them. You can find the tips here.
Standard Pot Sizes and What You Can Grow in Them
Masterclass lecturer and celebrated Gardener, Ron Finley, shares his expertise on the proper pot sizes. When looking for a pot, consider the size, and what you can possibly plant in them. Pots are measured in diameter.
- Nursery pot for trees: the largest size container is a 30-inch pot. This can serve as a nursery holder for trees that will eventually go to the ground. With proper care and feeding, trees like the apple, pear, and plum can grow and thrive completely in this container.
- The fiddle leaf holder: If you have houseplants with an extensive root system like the fiddle leaf fig tree, a 24-inch pot is the best option. These pots can hold 24 gallons of soil, and with the proper height, can contain dwarf trees and more.
- For vegetables and cacti: if you are thinking of growing large vegetables for your home garden-kitchen situation, you can start with the 18-inch pots. This can also be a great decorative holder for a large cactus in the corner of your room.
- The leafy plant holder: How beautiful would your Xanadu or Chinese Evergreen plant be in a 14-inch pot! This size also works well for vegetables like cabbages and carrots.
- For your flowers: With a 10-inch diameter pot, you can hold two to three gallons of potting soil. This is the right size to grow your flowers like marigolds or contain your favorite Calathea variety.
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Shop update tomorrow! After many weeks and a new studio and a new kiln, I’m finally going to be restocking the website! Email subscribers will get access at 11 am est and I’ll open it up to the public at 1 pm! This has been a really hard update to pull together, I hope it has a little bit of everything for everyone! Thank you all for your supportive messages! You guys are the best ❤️❤️
Four Kinds of Pots
From a home design perspective and as we’ve mentioned above, choosing pots is heavily based on aesthetics. But you should also know that some kinds of pots can affect the growth of your plant.
- Plastic pots – while plastic pots may be the cheapest container in all of the hardware stores in all of the states, they’re not always the best option for your home. Finley warns of photodegradation, which means long exposures to harsh sunlight will eventually cause the pot to fall apart. Black plastic pots absorb more heat and can cook the roots of your plants.
- Terracotta pots – a personal favorite, these classic pots should be the entry-level pot for plant lovers. They can help you with over-watering tendencies as these pots made of red clay are porous. Their material absorbs water from the soil and dries out. (Design points: they are also pretty and can fit homes of different styles.)
- Glazed ceramic pots – perhaps the most popular of the four, the glazed ceramic pot is sturdy and can be fashioned in any way build and style. Most plants can thrive in this container.
- Baskets – Wicker, wire, woven, and rattan. These gorgeous plant holders have established their position in the design department. Baskets can match almost any home decor theme: from tropical to shabby chic, to farmhouse design. Make sure to apply a wood sealant or protective spray to give longevity to the basket planter.
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🌿This is an odd spot behind our sectional. I added this shelf to give this little nook a purpose which holds some of my green babies and diy painted vases. More to come on those vases later on. #decorgalsdoitall #dgdia2908 #beautifuldecorstyles #athomecollective #neutraldecor #neutrals #ikeashelf #plantlivingroom #plantsofinstagram #plantmom #vase #paintedvase #diyvase #woodenbowls #wickerbasket
Choosing a plant pot can be just as difficult as choosing a plant. But always remember that the perfect pot can complete the look of your home. So keep researching until you find the right ones that fit your style and budget. Spark joy!