Terracotta pots offer a beautiful and natural home for all kinds of plants both indoors and out. The face that they breath offers many advantage for growing strong and healthy plants. Since the can absorb water, they also absorb the minerals and salts from the soil and any chemicals in the fertilizers used. If they are not cleaned at the end of each season those chemicals will rot the pot and eat away at the clay. Overtime the pots will fall apart. The pots can also develop a fungus that can rot the plant materials that are placed in them.
These simple steps will prolong the life of your clay pots and help to keep your plantings lush and healthy.
Remove all old plant materials and as much soil as possible. If there is any wet soil clining to the sides, let it dry and then remove that also. Use a scrubber brush of some kind to help brush away all the build up on the inside and outside of the clay pots. The photo shows a super brush that is shaped for pot cleaning and is available at most home and garden center. If still showing some residue you can fill a large pot or bucket with warm soapy water and soak the pots for a period of time, checking every hour or so. Rinse the pots with clear water and let dry completely.
Sometimes salts can stick to the sides. We heard you can make a paste out of baking soda and water. Spread it over the buildup and use a soft brush to scrub it away. Then rinse in clear water and let dry. If you want to go one more step, we suggest sanatizing the pots. Fill a garden bucket with 10 parts water and 1 part bleach. Let the container soak for 30 mins. Drain it again and allow to dry. This final step will help with growing fungus.
These are simple steps that make a huge difference. Once the garden pots are clean and dried completely, you can stack and store them for winter. If you leave them outside they could crack or break from the freezing temperatures.