Terra-Cotta Pots in the Garden

Terra-Cotta Pots in the Garden
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The workhorse of containers is terra-cotta. These pots range in size from smaller than a teacup to more than 3 feet in diameter. They vary from the common rimmed utility pot to ornately decorated ones. Yet, I prefer the 'common' ones. They don't take away from the herbs planted in them-you notice the herbs, not the pots.
Terra-cotta is available as shallow bulb pots, deeper lemon pots, tall, thin rose pots, and a variety of fanciful shapes. Gardeners, especially novices, generally get good results when using clay pots for indoor or patio containers. By varying the size and adding or removing saucers beneath the pots, you can find terra-cotta containers for every herb you'd ever care to grow.

Advantages of Clay Pots

Terra-cotta 'breathes,' allowing air to reach the plants' roots. Evaporating moisture from the pot surface cools the roots, much as if they were planted in the ground. Terra-Cotta's ability to breathe, however, can be one of its biggest drawbacks. Untreated, the dry red clay wicks water form the soil inside the container, drying the plant's roots. So, before planting in terra-cotta containers, soak them in water. When the container is completely submerged, you'll see strings of tiny bubbles, rising to the surface. When the bubbles stop, the container is saturated.

Caring for Your Pots

If you have terra-cotta containers that are emptied at the end of your growing season be sure you allow them to dry out. Any remaining moisture makes the pots susceptible to cracking or flaking in freezing weather. I don't have enough storage space to bring all my pots in so I accept any breaking as just another part of gardening.

Each spring before I pot up new plants in the terra-cotta containers I clean them and give them another thorough soaking.

If you miss watering some of your terra-cotta container plants for a few days during the summer, try emerging the whole pot and plant in a bucket of water to soak the soak and saturate the terra-cotta. You may be able to save the plant!


About The Author

herb gardens

Karen Hegre

I feel very fortunate to have met Karen, and to be able to share her wonderful crafts and herbal inspiration with our visitors. She has a gentle soul and contributes not only her words but encouragement as well.

Karen is a Master Gardener specializing in herbs, a mom and grandma. She and her husband have a Backyard Wildlife Habitat, plus 'Fairy Gardens' where the children can learn about different herbs and hear Karen read a story about the Garden Fairies and Flowers. They are open to the public May through September.

Karen owns several discussion lists, which we have listed below with the subscription information. All are free to join and a joy to be a member of!

Karen's Herbal Kitchen: A list for exchanging herbal recipes! Click Here to subscribe.

Nature Crafts: This is a list for those who enjoy crafting with Nature and want to learn more!! We will share projects, learn ways of preserving those natural items and much more. Click Here to subscribe.

Keepers Of the Gardens: This list is a 'learning & sharing' list on how to create beautiful back yard habitats for birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other wildlife including bees, dragonflies, frogs, toads & other friendly insects & reptiles. Click Here to subscribe.

Aromatherapy One-0-One: This is a list for learning the basics of Aromatherapy and Essential Oils. A friendly place for questions and ideas... a place where we can learn from each other. Click Here to subscribe.


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