Here's an excerpt from an email we send about one of our most frequently asked questions when it comes to any terracotta pots you may have. Lots of you want to keep the outside of your pot looking brand new for a long time. We offer some beauties that are painted on the outsideand we want you to love them for many years to come. Read more to understand the pros, the cons, and the solutions to keeping your terracotta looking beautiful for your indoor and outdoor gardens.
You have a new terracotta pot and your plant babies are going to thank you while looking soooo chic!
Just in case this is your first raw terracotta pot purchase, we wanted to give you some tips for the pros and cons of terracotta.
- Terracotta’s porous nature allows for air and water to move through the walls, preventing soil disease and root rot.
- Terracotta pots can be used for indoor plants and outdoor container gardening.
- Terracotta containers are perfect for Cacti, Succulents, and other plants that prefer a drier soil.
- Terracotta is great for colder climates. The walls of the pots draw the water out of the soil to help the soil dry quicker.
- They get a beautiful patina that gets better with age.
- Using them outdoors in cold weather can cause them to crack or break.
- Plants that prefer moist conditions may need to be watered more frequently in terracotta.
- They get a beautiful patina that just gets better with age.
The reason we put the patina part in both the pro and con lists is that patina could be a pro or con for you. It’s a personal preference. What is “patina”? The water and soil you use inside the pot will seep through the terracotta. This takes time but it will happen. When this happens you will see watermarks and places where the terracotta gets darker. In this photo below you can see the start of watermarks on the lower third of the larger planter.
If you want the exterior of your pots to remain the same color as the day they arrived, you have two options to make sure they stay looking new for as long as possible:
- Do NOT plant your plants directly inside the pot. Keep them in a nursery pot and simply sit the pot inside the terracotta. You may want to add some rocks to the bottom or maybe a few crushed soda cans to raise the plant up a bit. From there, you can use a decorative soil cover like pebbles or Spanish moss.
- Seal the inside of your pot with a stone sealer (found in big box hardware stores). When you do this, it makes the terracotta non-porous and you will not get a patina on the outside of the pot. Once you’ve sealed it, you can plant whatever you want inside without worry. However, be aware that you’ve removed the ability for the terracotta to breathe naturally and your roots will not get the added benefit of raw terracotta that we mentioned above.
It’s your choice!