Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Use Clay Pots for Indoor Gardening

By S.F. Heron ; Updated September 21, 2017

Garden enthusiasts typically use clay pots for outdoor container gardens. The composition of clay pots makes these planters a good choice for indoor gardening as well. Clay pots provide aeration due to the porous nature of clay. Clay pots can be used for successful indoor gardening with the understanding that clay pots require more frequent watering than plastic pots since the clay readily absorbs water.

If you are using previously used pots, scrub each pot to remove any dirt or accumulations of minerals. Minerals from water form deposits along the inside walls of clay pots. Use a knife to scrape off stubborn deposits. Scrub the inside of each clay pot with soapy water and rinse until all soap residue is gone.

Pour a 2-inch layer of gravel into the bottom of the clay pot. If the pot doesn't have drainage holes but you still would like to use it, place gravel inside the pot and situate a plastic pot with drain holes on top of the gravel.

Add new potting soil to fill the pot about 4 inches from the rim. Smooth the soil with your hand and make a hole in the center for your new plant. The hole should be deep enough to accommodate the entire root ball and allow for the top of the root ball to sit 2 to 3 inches below the pot's rim.

Place the plant into the hole and add potting soil around the roots until they are covered to the point where the stem joins the root. Add another inch of soil to bring the soil level 1 to 2 inches below the clay pot's rim.

Water around the base of the plant. Do not water leaves since this invites molds and fungus.

Place the clay pot in the proper location based on the individual plant requirements. Slide a drip tray or saucer under the clay pot to hold excess water and protect tables and floor surfaces from water stains.

Check the moisture levels in the clay pots every day by pressing a finger into the soil. Dry soil at a depth of 1 inch requires additional water. Strike a balance by carefully monitoring your clay pots to determine how much water the plants need in their new environment.


Things You Will Need

  • Clay pots
  • Scrubber
  • Dish detergent
  • Knife
  • Gravel
  • Watering can
  • Drip trays