Pots and Potted Plants
Pot selection is important for any pot-grown plant. Size is very important: do not use a pot that is too big, hoping that the plant will eventually grow into it. This will happen, but much slower than anticipated. Large volumes of growth medium stay cold and wet longer, and slow growth. Root growth will predominate, and actual plant growth is inhibited. Flowering may not take place.
When repotting, move up slowly in pot size, ideally in the spring, as days start to lengthen. Make sure that provision is made for drainage, in all pots: soil must drain to permit oxygen to reach the roots.
I prefer clay pots for my plants. Their weight gives them stability, and I like their look and feel. Since they're porous, they evaporate moisture easily, making it harder to over-water. This makes them ideal for cacti and succulents, though they'll work well with any plant. However, this evaporation from the pot does drop the soil temperature, and can affect growth in a room with low humidity and lower ambient temperatures.
If re-using a clay pot, be sure to sterilize it by scrubbing with a solution consisting of equal parts of bleach and water. This solution may be reused, if desired. Cover the center hole with a smooth, flat stone to prevent clogging. Soak the clay pot before use, so that it does not dry out your growing medium when first planting or repotting.
Plastic is easier to clean and sterilize. Since no evaporation takes place from its sides, it also keeps soil warmer. These probably make it the better pot material for starting seeds and cuttings, though I'll still use clay in many of these cases. Margarine containers, perforated repeatedly through their bases, particularly work well.
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