The Q&A Archives: Keeping Mold Off Clay Pots

Question: I have planted a variety of plants in old clay pots. I let the soil dry before watering but I have a constant band of mold on the pots. The pots are outside so ideally the sun would prevent the mold but it's very humid. I don't have time to scrub the pots every couple of weeks, nor do I want to invest in new pots. Do you know a way of keeping the pots pretty?

Answer: Part of the beauty of terra-cotta pots is the character they develop as they age. Some of this character is in the white streaks and green mold that they develop. Since terra-cotta is porous, moisture is constantly being drawn from the soil to the outside of the pot where it evaporates. This is good for the roots of your plants but it also sets up just the right environment for mold to grow. The mold is relatively harmless, and outside of sealing the pots inside and out, there' s no real way to prevent it. You could put your plants into plastic containers and place those containers into the terra-cotta pots. That way the decorative pot will remain dry and free of mold.

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