How to Prepare Terracotta Pots for Planting

Mud Mountain Blog

Purple tulips planted in a large decorative terracotta pot

Terracotta pots are a wonderful garden addition. With their warm, earthy tones and rustic charm, they add a touch of natural beauty to any outdoor space. But before you start planting, there are a few things you need to do to prepare your pots for their new occupants.

Raise your terracotta pots off of the ground

First and foremost, it’s important to raise your terracotta pots off the ground with pot feet. This is because terracotta is a porous material that absorbs moisture easily. When your pots are placed directly on the ground, they can become saturated with water, which can lead to a number of issues such as mold, mildew, and even cracking during freeze and thaw cycles. By using pot feet to elevate your pots, you allow air to circulate underneath them, which helps to prevent moisture from becoming trapped and damaging the pot.

Old town Tuscany

Cleaning your terracotta

Another important step in preparing your terracotta pots for planting is cleaning them out if you’re re-potting after another plant. Over time, plant debris, soil, and other organic matter can accumulate in the bottom of your pot, which can create a breeding ground for pests and diseases. To avoid this, it’s important to thoroughly clean your pot before adding new soil and plants. Start by removing any remaining soil and plant debris with a brush or your hands, then wash the pot with warm, soapy water. Rinse the pot well and let it dry completely before adding new soil and plants.

A few notes on repotting...

When it comes to repotting plants in terracotta pots, there are a few additional things to keep in mind. First, make sure that the new pot is large enough to accommodate the root ball of the plant. If the pot is too small, it can restrict the growth of the plant and cause it to become root-bound. Additionally, be sure to add a layer of gravel or rocks to the bottom of the pot to improve drainage and prevent water from becoming trapped.

Increase the longevity of your plants

Taking the time to prepare your terracotta pots before planting can go a long way in ensuring the health and longevity of your plants. By raising your pots off the ground with pot feet and cleaning them out if re-potting after another plant, you can help prevent moisture buildup, pest infestations, and other issues that can cause damage to both your pots and your plants. Be sure to follow these simple tips for a successful and beautiful garden, making the most out of your gorgeous terracotta pieces. 

Agapanthus in two large terracotta planters

How can we help?

If you’d like further maintenance guidance, or advice on finding your perfect pot—please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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