Indoor Gardening: How to Clean Pots

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Indoor Gardening: How to Clean Pots

Staff Writer · Jan 16, 2010

If you do a lot of indoor gardening you need to know how to clean pots. Keeping your pots clean is essential to keeping your plants healthy. Every time you re-pot your plants or pot a new plant you should make sure to put them in a clean, sterile pot.

The Importance of Clean Pots

A dirty pot often has mineral buildup and fungus that can cause diseases in your plants. Clay pots especially tend to build up salt deposits which can be harmful if not kept in check. Plant diseases can be spread from plant to plant if hygienic practices are not followed. Additionally, insect infestations can be passed through the use of dirty pots. It is important to keep your pots clean when growing houseplants, it is even more important if you are growing herbs or other edible plants.

Removing Mineral Deposits

To remove mineral deposits on clay or plastic pots soak the pots in a solution of nine parts hot water to one part bleach. Allow the pots to soak for at least 10 minutes and then scrub them with a plastic or wire bristle brush until deposits are removed. If any deposits remain try scraping them off with a knife. Rinse the pots thoroughly and then sterilize them.

Sterilizing Your Pots

In addition to washing, before you re-pot your plants you should sterilize them. Sterilizing your pots is particularly important if you have had problems with fungus or plant diseases. Start by cleaning your pots as above to remove debris and mineral deposits. You can sterilize your pots by running them through the dishwasher (do not add soap), or if you have clay pots you can also put them in the oven at 250° for 30 minutes.

Maintaining Clean Pots

In between thorough cleanings your pots may need to be maintained. Clay pots are notorious for building up salt deposits which can damage the stem of the plant if it touches it. In between re-potting plants you can scrape these deposits off of the pot to keep it clean. Self watering pots are very popular, but be careful not to allow the water to stagnate in the bottom of the pot between watering as disease can result. If you notice a plant failing outside of your normal re-potting times go ahead and re-pot it in a clean, sterile pot to help fight against any disease.

Yearly Cleaning

Since you should re-pot your plants every year it is the perfect opportunity to ensure that your pots are clean and sterile. Following this routine maintenance will cut down considerably on diseases and insect problems that many people who grow plants indoors experience. This yearly cleaning will also keep your pots looking their best as fungus and mineral deposits are unsightly.

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