Starting with clean flower pots is very important when planting a container garden. Here’s the best way to clean your flower pots this growing season.
It’s very important to start out with clean flower pots when you’re planting a container garden, but it’s probably something that many of us forget to do most of the time. Dirty pots can contain pests, bacteria, and fungus that can hurt your flowers and keep them from getting a good start. Even if you use fresh potting mix and really healthy looking plants from a good garden center, leftovers in your pots from last year can ruin the whole thing.
I have to admit that I’ve definitely neglected to clean flower pots I’ve used in the past and I’ve suffered the consequences when flowers in certain pots just wouldn’t thrive even when others nearby were growing bigger by the minute. It’s my goal for this year to clean out every single pot by the end of the fall when the growing season is done and I decided to start right away with some pots that had spring flowers in them that I recently emptied. Don’t worry if you run out of time and don’t get your pots all perfectly-cleaned in the fall. You can definitely clean them just as well in the spring before you plant too!
So here’s how to clean your pots!
Start out by emptying your pots. It doesn’t matter if they’re clay, resin, cement, or plastic, they can all be cleaned this same way. Use a stiff nylon-bristled brush to remove as much of the dirt clinging to the sides as possible. I have a grout brush that I use just for this purpose and it works really well.
Next fill up a sink with warm soapy water and add in about a cup of vinegar. Use your stiff brush to wash out your pots, just like you’re washing the dishes. If you’re doing larger pots, you can clean them outside in a big tub of water. A big plastic storage tote makes a a great “sink” for this purpose.
When you’ve removed all of the dirt and debris, wipe the pots out really well to make sure you get everything out. I like to use a microfiber cloth like this one because it really picks up everything and it’s been shown to remove 99% of bacteria with just water. Bacteria removal is just what I’m going for here!
Finally, let your pots dry in the sun and put them away somewhere safe and clean until you’re ready to plant again!
What are your favorite techniques used to clean flower pots at the end of your growing season?
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.