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Why do terra cotta pots have holes on the side? (Here’s Why)

Why do terra cotta pots have holes on the side (Here's Why)

The quirky world of terra cotta pots with holes on the side is where plants find their happy place and gardeners discover a whole new way to nurture their green babies! 

If you’ve ever stumbled upon these peculiar pots and wondered, “What’s the deal with those holes?” then you’re in for an interesting trip.

We’re diving headfirst into the fascinating realm of terra cotta pots with side holes. From unraveling their functional design to uncovering the secret sauce behind their plant-boosting powers, we’ll leave no stone unturned and no hole unexplained! 

Why do terra cotta pots have holes on the side?

Why do terra cotta pots have holes on the side
Image by Thomson’s Garden Centre

The purpose of side holes in terra cotta pots is to improve drainage and aeration, preventing waterlogging and promoting healthy root development. 

These holes allow excess water to escape and ensure adequate airflow into the soil, creating an optimal environment for plant growth.

Improved Water Drainage

Improved Water Drainage
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Unlike regular terra cotta pots with only bottom holes, side holes let extra water out faster, stopping the soil from getting waterlogged. They let that excess water out faster than you can say “root rot,” keeping your plants from turning into soggy messes. 

And hey, they’re not just about drainage — side holes also play it cool by helping to regulate soil moisture, ensuring your plants get the perfect sip of water for some serious growth.

Enhanced Soil Aeration

Enhanced Soil Aeration
Image by Pinterest

Side holes in terra cotta pots help gases move between the soil and the air around it, making sure plant roots get enough oxygen. Unlike pots with just bottom holes, the side holes let fresh air in. 

With this airflow, terra cotta pots become the VIP lounges for soil superheroes and root respirators, paving the way for strong, healthy growths. 

Healthy Root Development

Healthy Root Development
Image by Smart Pot

These holes help air and oxygen get into the soil. This is important for roots to grow well. 

Roots need oxygen to breathe and take in nutrients. Also, the holes stop the soil from getting too hard, so roots can move through it better. 

With these holes around, roots can sip up water and nutrients like a fancy cocktail, keeping those plants thriving and growing strong. 

They even double as a drainage system, making sure roots don’t end up waterlogged and soggy like last week’s leftovers!

Optimal Plant Growth

Optimal Plant Growth
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The openings help water drain away and let air circulate in the soil, preventing problems like waterlogging and soil compaction. 

And guess what? Happy roots mean happy plants! 

With these side holes, plants can stretch out their roots and slurp up water, oxygen, and all the good stuff they need. 

What are the advantages of terra cotta pots with side holes?

What are the advantages of terra cotta pots with side holes
Image by The Spruce

Side holes in terra cotta pots offer versatility for various plants and growing conditions. They accommodate plants with specific water needs and enable multi-plant cultivation in one pot. 

Plus, they enhance the visual appeal of plant displays for indoor and outdoor gardening.


Image by The Orchid Gardener

Terra cotta pots with side holes offer more options. They work well for plants that like their soil consistently moist because the side holes let extra water drain out while keeping the soil damp. 

They’re perfect for those finicky plants that need their soil just right – not too dry, not too wet. The side holes let excess water escape, keeping the soil moist without drowning your greens.

They’re also a dream for plants that like a little breathing room. Those side holes prevent water from pooling at the bottom, ensuring your roots get the oxygen they crave. 

It’s like giving your plants their own personal oxygen bar!

Multi-Plant Growing Capability

Multi-Plant Growing Capability
Image by Better Homes & Gardens

Terra cotta pots with holes on the sides give more room for planting. This helps gardeners use small spaces better and mix different plants in one pot. 

You can mix and match your green babies like a botanical DJ — herbs, flowers, and succulents, all grooving together in harmony. It’s like a party in a pot! 

Plus, cramming a bunch of plants in one spot not only looks cool but also boosts biodiversity. 

Decorative Appeal

Decorative Appeal
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These terra cotta pots come in different sizes, shapes, and designs, giving you lots of options to make your plants look better. They have holes on the sides which are useful and also make the pots look cool, drawing attention to your plants. 

You can get your creative juices flowing by mixing and matching different plants or colors in one pot like a botanical fashion show! Whether solo or in a plant posse, these pots elevate any space, making them a hit among both rookie and seasoned gardeners.

What are the disadvantages of terra cotta pots with side holes?

What are the disadvantages of terra cotta pots with side holes
Image by Martha Stewart

Terra cotta pots with holes on the sides can let too much water drain out, which might cause soil to spill through the holes. Also, watering could be messy, and you might need to do more upkeep to avoid these problems.

Excessive Water Drainage

In dry areas where it’s hot and water evaporates fast, the small holes in these pots meant for draining water can make plants lose water quickly. This can stress them out and make it hard for them to keep moisture in the soil. 

Water Spillage

Unlike pots with only bottom drainage holes, where water drains out from the base, side holes may cause water to spill from the sides during watering. This can be troublesome indoors or on surfaces sensitive to water damage. 

It’s like trying to control a leaky faucet — tricky business, right? You’ll end up with uneven watering and a watery mess. 

Soil Spillage

Terra cotta pots with side holes can sometimes let small bits of soil out, especially if the soil is fine. This can happen when watering or when it rains heavily, making a mess. 

Additional Maintenance

Terra cotta pots with side holes are designed to benefit plant health, but they also come with challenges. One major issue is soil spilling out through these holes, especially if the soil has small particles. 

How can I ensure that terra cotta pots with side holes are used correctly?

How can I ensure that terra cotta pots with side holes are used correctly
Image by The Spruce

To ensure that terra cotta pots with side holes are used correctly and effectively, there are several key steps that gardeners can take:

Proper Pot Preparation

Before you plant, make sure the pot is clean and clear of any dirt or impurities. Wash it with water and let it dry completely.

Suitable Plant Selection

Choose plants that match the terra cotta pot’s conditions, like drainage and aeration. Also, think about the plant’s water needs and root structures to make sure they suit the pot’s design.

Appropriate Potting Mix

You need to choose a good potting mix that drains well and is lightweight. Don’t use heavy soils or garden soil because they can block drainage and air circulation in the pot.

Moisture Level Maintenance

Make sure to regularly check how wet the potting soil is to make sure it’s just right for your plants. Change how often you water them depending on the weather and what your plants like.

Soil Spillage Prevention

To stop soil from leaking out of the holes in the sides, line the inside of the pot with a thin plastic mesh or landscaping fabric. This keeps your potting mix intact and avoids any mess when you water or move the pot.

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