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Houseplants: containers

Choosing the proper plant container is very important. Select containers that allow drainage, or place a layer of gravel or broken pot shards in the bottom of the pot to allow drainage. Ideally, plant containers should have a drainage hole in the bottom. If not, soil can become waterlogged and root rot may occur.

Decorative containers often do not have drainage holes, so it may be necessary to double-pot your plant. Double potting allows you to enjoy a decorative container while providing proper drainage for your plant. When double potting, put a small amount of gravel in the bottom of the decorative container and place the clay or houseplantplastic container inside.

Porous ceramic pots allow more air to reach plant roots than plastic, but have a tendency to show stains from salts in water.

When using tall, narrow pots, you'll need to use a finer textured soil to maintain even moisture than when using short, wide pots. Larger pots require less frequent watering. Decorative baskets may also be used, but you'll need to use a plastic saucer inside the basket to protect furniture and floors from damage resulting from drainage.

Select containers according to plant type. For example, succulents may do better in unglazed clay containers while moisture-loving plants, like Boston fern, may do better in plastic containers. Glazed clay, wire with peat moss, and wooden containers are also available. Avoid treated wood containers because they may affect plant growth and viability.


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Updated Tuesday, July 22, 2014