Here is a basic houseplant tip that many people either don’t seem to know… or have forgotten. Don’t plant houseplants in a decorative pot; plant them in a plain old-fashioned grow pot, then slip the now potted plant into the decorative pot. This is called double potting.
Why is this important? Because most designer pots were created to look good, not really to grow plants in.
The Downside to Decorative
For one thing, many designer pots don’t have a drainage hole. Do not believe people who tell you can compensate for a lack of a drainage hole by filling the pot bottom with gravel or pot shards so excess water can drain there. Excess water will still stagnate in the bottom of the pot and threaten the roots with rot. It will eventually kill your plant, mark my word.
Designer pots that do have a drainage hole often have a rounded or uneven shape or some sort of constriction that will make it almost impossible to remove the plant in the future without pulling off half its roots. In total contrast, grow pots were designed so you can simply turn the pot upside and thump on it to release the plant’s roots.
And in those cases where the plant simply will not come out of a grow pot (and yes, that does happen), you can just cut it open to remove the plant or even smash it apart with a hammer: it had no great value, after all. Do you really want to smash your 99$ designer pot so you can get a $20 plant out?
Some designer pots crack readily as roots expand. Others are too heavy to move readily. Many were never designed to be in contact with soil and will be hard or impossible to clean when you do repot. And there are even a few that are toxic to plant roots. They may be decorative, but they weren’t designed to grow plants in!
Double Potting Using Cachepots
Designer pots are best used as a “cachepot” (a French word meaning “pot hider”). Pot up your houseplant in a plain grow pot, then put the grow pot inside the decorative container of your choice. In other words, double pot the plant. This will give your plants the look you want while making their care simpler.
Also, if the plant doesn’t look as good as you thought in its decorative pot or if it is performing badly under your growing conditions, you can replace the plant with a better choice almost instantly if it’s in a grow pot.
Finally, even a designer pot with no drainage hole can at least catch excess water and can therefore be used as a saucer!