Planting & Care
Before planting your pots, there are a few steps you can take to make your investments last as long as possible. One step you can take to increase the durability of you pottery is to seal any part of the pot that isn’t glazed, usually the inside and the bottom. We recommend that our customers pick up some concrete sealer from one of the big box stores and apply it prior to planting per product instructions. Even though the Vietnam Black Clay and Glazed pottery is rated to stay outside all year long, sealing any unglazed surface will only improve the durability of the pottery. When it comes to the Chinese Glazed pottery, sealing any unglazed surface is highly recommended since this pottery is more porous than the pottery from Vietnam.
When placing your pots in a landscape, do not place the pots directly on dirt or bark. These surfaces hold water and will cause the pots to absorb that water through its base during the winter months. Instead, place your pots on a solid, well-draining base like flagstone or gravel. If you are partially burying the pots in your landscape, dig a hole that is 8″-12″ wider than the pot and surround it with a medium to large gravel to promote good drainage. Failure to follow these steps can lead to the premature degradation of your pottery
When planting your pots, there are a couple tips to keep in mind. DO NOT USE REGULAR DIRT IN YOUR POTS, USE ONLY POTTING SOIL. Regular dirt is too dense and doesn’t release moisture quickly enough. This WILL lead to premature degradation of the pottery and poor drainage.
With pots that exceed 20″ x 20″, it is recommended that a layer of rock or non-biodegradable packing peanuts be used at the bottom of the pot to promote good drainage. As the diagram to the right shows, a layer of rock/peanuts 3″-6″ in height should be added to the bottom of the pot. Next, a water-permeable barrier should be laid down to prevent the potting soil from mixing with the rock/peanuts below, thus preserving the media’s drainage qualities. Some examples of this barrier includes weed cloth or weed barrier and metal or plastic screen used for screen doors. Once the barrier has been laid down, fill the rest of the pot with a good quality potting soil and you are ready to plant. If you have a very deep pot and are only planting annuals in it, you can fill most of the pot with packing peanuts instead of potting soil; don’t fill the majority of the pot with rock. Annuals only need 14″-18″ of soil depth for their root systems since the growing season is only 6-7 months long here in Idaho.
Hint: If you are using a drip system to water your pots and don’t want the unsightly look of a drip line laying over the side of the pot, put your pot on pot feet and run the 1/4″ (not 1/2″) drip line through one of the drain holes in the bottom of the pot. Tape the tubing to the inside wall of the pot and then add your potting soil and drainage material. Be sure to leave a few extra feet of line at the top of the pot so you don’t come up short after you have put in all your soil and plants.
If you are watering your plants, and there is a significant amount of water draining out the bottom of the pot, you are using too much water at one time. Any water draining out the bottom is wasted water and can’t be used by the plants. It is better to water your pots more often with a smaller volume of water. This will keep you plants looking good and prevent your concrete or deck from becoming stained.
There are also a few steps to take to winterize your pots. If your they are small and can be brought into your garage, this is always ideal. For larger pots, follow these three steps:
- Just before the temperatures at night reach freezing (usually late October in Boise), stop watering the plants and clear out all plant material. This will allow the soil in the pot to fully drain and dry out.
- Cover the pot with a plastic bag or other water-proof cover and secure at the bottom. This will keep all snow, ice, and frost off your pot. To have a more decorative cover, patio furniture covers can be used; or, if you are handy with a sewing machine, you may make your own. If you have a perennial that does not die back or small tree in your pot, do not cover it as this could harm the plant.
- Keep them covered until early march, or until you are ready to plant in the spring.
Hint: For some of the larger Chinese glazed pots, it can be difficult to move them into your garage. By placing the pot on a plant stand with rollers, you can more easily move it into your garage. And remember, you MUST ALWAYS bring in any Malaysian or Terra Cotta pottery. If you do not, the pots could start to degrade in as little as three years.