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How to Unstick Flower Pots

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated September 21, 2017

When you venture out to the garden shed to begin potting flowers and plants for the season, finding flower pots stuck together may stop your planting progress immediately. Terra cotta flower pots are especially prone to sticking together when you stack them into towers for storage. Try several methods to unstick flower pots, using utmost care to avoid breaking or chipping the flower pots.

Place the pots on their sides on the ground and cover the pots with the thick towel to prevent breakage. Gently tap on the sides of the pots with the rubber mallet. Do not use extreme force with the mallet—gentle taps are all you should use to unstick the pots. Roll the pots around as you tap to try to loosen the inner pot from the outer pot.

Set the stuck pots into the freezer for approximately 15 minutes. Terracotta contracts as it gets cold, so exposing the pots to cold temperatures may contract them enough to allow you to separate them. Do not leave the pots in the freezer for longer than this time; however, because the pots may crack if they freeze completely.

Cover the drainage hole of the inner pot temporarily. Use a piece of duct tape to cover the hole or insert something into the hole to plug it. Fill the inner pot with ice water and then set the outer pot in a sink of hot water. The temperature difference between the inner pot and the outer pot should cause the inner pot to contract and the outer pot to expand, which will unstick the pots.


Things You Will Need

  • Rubber mallet
  • Thick towel
  • Freezer
  • Temporary plug for inside pot
  • Ice water
  • Hot water


  • Use care as you try to unstick the pots. Using extreme methods will likely break the pots.

About the Author


Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.