Soaking Clay Pots Before Planting is Helpful to The Roots

by | Mar 11, 2020 | 4 comments

Today was a day of re-potting plants. Now is the time to do that if you didn’t know. Spring is the perfect time because our plants are waking up from their winter naps and starting to actively grow. I have a lot of pots to choose from and some were clay. I wash my pots if they have previously been used whatever kind of pot they are. But after they have been cleaned or if even if they are new, I put the clay pots in water to soak.

Soaking clay pots

I’m soaking these clay pots in water before using them

Why soak?

Why do clay pots need to be soaked? Clay pots are porous. That means the water seeps through the walls of the pot. So if you use a dry clay pot when potting up a plant, the water you add to your plant will seep into the pot. This means the pot is stealing water from the root area of your plant. It won’t kill your plant, most likely. I’ve planted plenty of plants into clay pots without soaking them first, but I do think it helps when I do. This is especially true if it is a small plant or seedlings. They have smaller, more delicate roots that may be more susceptible to damage if the water is being drawn away from them by the clay pot.

Newly watered plant in clay pto

This newly planted fern that has just been watered

Soaking the pots

As you can see below, the pots that have been soaked are much darker as they are full of water.

Don’t forget the saucer

You don’t need to soak the saucers, but I wanted to show you that if you have a clay saucer, the water will soak through the saucer and may damage what the saucer is sitting on. This could result in ruined furniture or as in my case, a ruined doily.

Soaked clay saucer

Clay saucers allow water to soak through and could ruin whatever is under it

The saucer that ruined this doily was a glazed pot and saucer, leading me to believe the water wouldn’t soak through it. For some reason, a ring on the bottom of the saucer was left unglazed and the water seeped through and ruined the doily. Thankfully, the crate is old and it just added more patina to it, so no harm done.

Ruined doily

This doily was ruined by a plant saucer

My choice instead of clay pots are thrift store finds which you can read about here.

If you want to use the saucer, as it matches your container, but it is porous,  a cork matt with an impervious barrier underneath is a great way to ensure no damage is done to your furniture.

Cork mat under pot

A cork mat makes certain no water can ruin a piece of furniture

So whether you use the saucer provided or buy something from the thrift store, make sure your saucer is waterproof. It will save you much anguish later, believe me. And if using clay pots, make sure to soak them first so they aren’t stealing water from the potting medium and your plant.

What do you use for plant saucers?

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Leave a Comment


  1. Dorothy Garey

    I use pretty china little bowls or plates for saucers. I love the blue ones.

    • Lisa Steinkopf

      I love it! Thanks for commenting! Its the thrill of the hunt for new saucers. I love going to the Salvation Army and garage sales.

  2. Therese Pring

    The bottom of any glazed item is always left unglazed, otherwise it will fuse to the kiln if it’s being fired and you’ll never get it off. Just an fyi! 🙂

    • Lisa Steinkopf

      Thanks so much for that information! It is so annoying to have a ring on your furniture. Obviously the glazed inner part of the saucer must have had a crack for the moisture to get to the bottom ring…..


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