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How to Prepare Flower Pots for Planting

Get your pots cleaned up and set up the right way so you will have happy plants that thrive all season long.

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Preparing To Get Planting

Don't start planting until your pots are ready to do their job. Make sure your containers are well prepared, draining properly and protected from the elements so they'll be easier to maintain. Here's everything you need to know.

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Check for Drainage Holes

Most ceramic pots are made with drainage holes so that excess water can drain away (if it can’t, plants will rot). Some plastic (shown here) and most non-traditional containers do not have drainage holes. When a pot doesn’t have holes, you will need to make some. This is easily accomplished with a drill and an appropriate bit.

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Drilling Holes

This plastic pot did not come with pre-drilled holes. In this instance, the pot is very large so we’re using a 1/2” drill bit to produce five evenly spaced holes in the container base. Choose a hole diameter and number of holes that will allow water to drain freely. The type of pot you’re trying to drill will dictate the type of drill bit you need. For most plastic containers, a regular twist drill bit is fine. For terra cotta and un-glazed ceramics, you’ll want to use a masonry bit, and for hard-glazed containers, you’ll need a glass/tile drill bit.

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Stop the Rot

To help water drain freely, place broken terra-cotta pots (crocks), Styrofoam chips, or large pebbles in the base of the pot. Alternatively, you can use a layer of fine mesh with gravel on top. This prevents drainage holes from becoming blocked and soil from being flushed out.

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