The “Rules” For Choosing a Pot for House Plants
Of course, when you buy a plant for an indoor garden, it comes in a pot. This pot may be good for the time, but it may not allow the plant to thrive or support the plant as it grows. You will have to make the important decision of what kind of pot will be best for any indoor plants that you buy.
The way a pot looks (color/style) is not important in the growth of the plant, but it is important to how you want your home to look in general. Choosing style is a subjective matter, however.
More objectively, you’ll need to pay close attention to the size of the pot. The available space you can dedicate to the pot could stunt the growth of the plant if you choose one that is too small. You will likely have to re-pot every couple of years, with a bigger pot each time. Choosing a pot that will give the plant some room to grow in the first place will delay the first time you’ll have to re-pot. A large pot will allow the roots to grow free and provide plenty of soil to give the plant all of the nutrients that it needs. The plant will grow more quickly in a large pot.
A small pot does not have as much soil, but the concentration of nutrients can be higher. Obviously, there is less room in a smaller pot for a plant to grow. This will cause the plant to grow more slowly than one in a larger pot. You may not have to re-pot too soon since it grows slower. If you want a plant to stay small longer, this is a good option. If you keep a plant in a pot that is too small for too long, it can become root bound. You can’t allow this to happen. When you do need to re-pot, the new pot should have a diameter that is 1-2 inches larger than the pot in which the plant is currently growing.
Besides the size of the pot, you’ll need to pay close attention to how well it drains. It has been estimated by professionals that 90% of indoor plants are over watered. A lot of them die because of this common mistake. Mold, mildew, fungi, and a variety of diseases thrive on overly moist soil. Once your plant gets one of these, it can be tough to nurture it back to health.
You need to beware especially of overwatering plants that naturally don’t receive very much water. Herbs are a prime example of this. They grow in the hot sun with poor, rocky soil and little water. They would not be used to the high amounts of water that one would provide it if the gardener didn’t know better. Bonsai plants also can be over watered. They are used to moist soil, but inadequate drainage can cause problems.
To get good drainage, a pot should have numerous holes in the bottom. The holes should be small enough the soil will not spill out. If the holes are too small, the soil can clog them. A good way to have larger holes while still keeping the soil in is to put a mesh cover over the holes. You can test for the correct hole size by filling a saucer 1/3 full with water. The soil should soak the water up. Keep doing this until the soil no longer absorbs water. You can then measure how much water was use. From this, you will know how much water your plant uses and what size hole is right.
A pot’s appearance is obviously important, but if the plants do not survive because the pot is not right for the specific type and size plant, the plant can die. You will be left with a nice looking pot with an ugly, brown plant. Make sure to take the plant’s needs into consideration when choosing a pot.