What Are the Best Tips for Potting Plants?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2019
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Choosing suitable clean pots that drain well is important when potting plants. Some potting soils can also be mixed with a small amount of fertilizer before placing the plant in the pot. Additionally, special care should be taken when handling the plant.

Potting plants should be done at a certain time. It is usually not advisable to pot a plant during its dormant months, since the roots will not be able to grow fast enough to establish themselves. For better results, potting plants should usually be done while they are actively growing.

Using the right pot is one of the most important considerations when potting plants. Ideally, the size of the pot should reflect the size of the plant. Small plants, like herbs, will do well in a small to medium pot. Large plants, like bushes, will usually only survive in large pots.

There are a variety of types of pots to choose from. Terra cotta, or clay, pots are typically suitable for most potted plants. This material is very porous, and it help water drain properly. In hot, dry climates, however, these types of pots can cause the soil to become dry quickly.


Plastic, fiberglass, and ceramic pots are also available. These types of pots can help keep the soil moist. Any pot that is used for potting plants, though, should have adequate drain holes on the bottom. These holes will help excess water drain and prevent the plants from becoming waterlogged. Pots should also be thoroughly cleaned before use.

Gardening experts also recommend adding about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of gravel to the bottom of the pot. This can also help water drain. After adding the gravel, potting soil should be used to fill about three quarters of the pot. If desired, potting compost can be added to the potting mix for extra fertilization.

To repot a plant, it must first be removed from its old pot. Saturating the soil surrounding the plant can make this task easier. A gardener can then tug gently on the base of the plant stem. When the plant comes loose, the pot can then be laid on its side on a table or potting bench. It can then be worked the rest of the way out.

The plant should be gently be placed into the new pot without disturbing the roots, and the roots should be covered with soil immediately. Typically, the bottom 2 inches (5 centimeters) of the stem should also be covered, and the top of the soil should be about 1 or 2 inches (2.5 or 5 centimeters) below the rim of the pot.

Watering is also usually necessary after potting plants. It is important to keep the soil moist, since this can help prevent transplant shock. Some expert gardeners also recommend using a weak sugar water solution.



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