To Pot or Pot in a Pot; That is The Question!

A frequent question we are asked is if it's necessary to plant up fully or if it's ok to pop the black plastic or nursery pot containing your plant directly into your Mud Mountain terracotta pot.

We strongly recommend that if purchasing an orcio or giara, this is an essential method of planting as if fully planted, and the roots grow to the shape of the terracotta jar, it will become impossible to remove without causing damage to your planter. However, for more standard shapes of planters, the pot in a pot technique is a great way to change displays throughout the seasons, and caring for the roots and freshening compost is as easy as pot in, pot out!

Equally for ease, if you have, for example, citrus trees that need to be moved indoors over the colder months and indeed, for any large pots which you may want to move in the short term, life becomes much easier if you can just pop the plant out of your terracotta pot. Far kinder on the back, as well as the bonus of not needing to purchase so much compost. 

It is possible that you will need to heighten the plastic pot to bring it to the correct level, and you can achieve this in the smaller terracotta pots by upturning a spare plastic pot and positioning your plant securely on top. However, you may need to use bricks or something similar with a stable, flat base in the larger terracotta pots. The added weight of bricks would also add stability if the pot is placed in a particularly windy area. 

It's essential to ensure the plastic pot has adequate drainage, and we would still recommend using pot feet underneath your terracotta pot to keep the water draining completely freely and allowing airflow. This pot in a pot technique of planting also means there is no wet compost coming into contact with the terracotta, and this will help keep your pot nice and clean and protect it from the potential build-up of green algae.  

When you have it safely nestled inside your terracotta pot, you can then add a decorative topping to hide the plastic tub, and that's a good job done!

Posted by Lorrayne Scott-Collins on June 10th 2021

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