How to Garden in a Clay Pot


Clay pots (also known as terra cotta pots) can be used to grow plants in a container garden. Clay pots are known for their pinkish orange color, and the fact that they develop a lovely patina with age. Clay pots are healthier for your plants than glazed pots, because clay pots allow an exchange of air to and from the plant's roots. If you're interested in growing a garden in clay pots, you should know that basically anything that can be grown can also be grown in a clay pot, with a few minor adjustments.

Step 1

Make sure the clay pot is clean. If the pot is brand new, it will be fine to to plant in. If it is used, however, it will need to be cleaned. Plants that were in the pot previously may have been sick and any fungus infections or infestations could pass to your new plants. For this reason, wash used clay pots thoroughly with warm soapy water. Rinse them well. Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar, and spray the pot inside and out. Allow it to dry completely.

Step 2

Fill the pot approximately one-quarter full with potting soil. For best results, do not use top soil from the ground. Top soil is usually lacking in the nutrients that plants need, and does not drain well, so it's best to use a high-quality potting soil from your local garden center.

Step 3

Place the plant in the pot, and fill in the gaps around the plant with potting soil. Do not press the soil down hard, because this could damage the roots. Instead, just gently pat the soil into place.

Step 4

Water the plant well as soon as you plant it. This will help make the plant's transition a little less stressful.

Step 5

Water regularly. This is the main difference between gardening in the ground and gardening in a clay pot. Clay pots are very porous, and they tend to wick water and moisture away from the plant and its roots. Because of this, the soil dries out more quickly. Water whenever the top 2 inches of soil feel dry.

Step 6

Rotate the clay pot regularly. Because of its porous properties, the clay pot will dry out on the side that faces the sun. To keep the roots evenly moist, rotate the pot every 12 to 24 hours.

Things You'll Need

  • Clay pots
  • Potting soil
  • Plants
  • Mild soap (optional)
  • White vinegar (optional)
  • Spray bottle (optional)


  • The University of Georgia Coperative Extension: More on growing plants in containers
Keywords: grow garden in clay pot, grow plant in clay pot, growing container garden

About this Author

Cyn Vela is a freelance writer and professional blogger. Her work has been published on dozens of websites, as well as in local print publications. Vela's articles usually focus on where her passions lie: writing, web development, blogging, parenting, gardening, and health and wellness. She studied English literature at Del Mar College, and at the University of Texas at San Antonio.