Sempervivum forum: Plastic pots?

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Sempervivums Region: California Adeniums Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New York Region: Florida
Mar 10, 2017 7:41 AM CST
I like to plant my semps in terra cota because like how they dry out much faster after waterings. Though, I have a bunch of 6" plastic bulb pans and I was wondering if my semps would be okay if I were to use plastic for a long period of time, Like maybe a year? I was wondering what everyone's experience has been trying to grow semps in plastic pots? I would like to just buy terra cota, but I've been extremely busy. Would it be better to leave my plants in a 4 inch pot even if they are filling it and it won't be a few months before I replant them or should I put them in a 6" plastic even if I plan on putting them in terra cotta shortly after? Would it be better to disturb their roots less even if it means they are starting to out grow their 4"? What's everyone's thoughts on this?
Thank You!
Name: Tim Stoehr
Canby, Oregon (Zone 8b)
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Mar 10, 2017 10:52 AM CST
I don't think terra cota is much better than plastic for the health of the plants. There are other reasons I like them for looks or style or whatever. Sometimes the plastic ones have more holes in the bottom and I like that for drainage. There are some real semp fanatics that keep hundreds... and even thousands... (not an exaggeration) of semps in plastic pots. If you feel like root aeration is an issue, then choose a sufficiently airy soil mixture.

This guy uses alot of plastic pots and he seems to have some idea what he's doing. Scroll down to see.

Plastic also seems to work for this guy...

4" x 4" pots work pretty good and can sustain a semp for several years after which it will be escaping over the sides. I've seen substantial collections kept in pots this size. I don't know how the maintenance goes... maybe Bev can weigh in.
[Last edited by tcstoehr - Mar 10, 2017 11:04 AM (+)]
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Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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Mar 10, 2017 1:15 PM CST
Planthoarder said: ...use plastic for a long period of time, Like maybe a year?

Gosh a year?...well, maybe won't seem so long if one is having fun! Smiling
Anyway, I moved from having a semp bed (see below) and converting it to 5 flats worth and moving it to new home on a balcony.
Thumb of 2017-03-10/webesemps/0170d7

Suffice to say they all had to go into plastic pots starting with the 2 incher ones and moving them to 4 inchers when they look like they need more room. I have always had an aversion to the one gallon round pots probably because in my mind's eye, there's usually a price tag attached to them that ranges from 8.99 to 12.99 for 4 dollars worth of semps at most stores. Plus, there's no room on a balcony for fifty 1 gal pots and an overweight gardener...

So to sort of answer your question, I would have to say that you will find some semps growing faster and bigger and more prolific than others. So the small or slower or lonely ones could probably stay in same plastic pot (especially if a 4 incher) for a few years. And the bigger pots could accommodate the larger specimens. I have plants in same pots for almost 2 years now and with some that have had just one or two new offsets only, they won't be moved into new pot soon.

On the other hand, given that plastic pots don't dry out as fast, I would think the bigger ones (more than 4") would hold more wet soil for semps that really don't have that density of root system.
[Last edited by valleylynn - Mar 11, 2017 9:57 PM (+)]
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Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
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Mar 13, 2017 6:26 AM CST


I've kept semps in 4" plastic pots for a couple of years until I could find room in my in-ground beds for them. They seem to do just as well as the ones I have in terracotta pots. If you plan on replanting from a small plastic pot to terracotta yet this year, I wouldn't bother moving them to 6" plastic pots first.
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[Last edited by goldfinch4 - Mar 15, 2017 4:16 AM (+)]
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Name: Paul
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
Mar 15, 2017 2:32 AM CST
I use terra cotta and plastic for sempervivum. I prefer terra cotta for the same reason you do (dries out faster) and I like how they look more than plastic, but last year I had a bunch of leftover orange plastic nursery pots from plants I had bought earlier in the season so I just plunked my newer sempervivums into plastic. The next few weeks I am moving them all to terra cotta though Green Grin! you can just leave yours in the little pots they are in until you are ready to put them into terra cotta. Being cramped doesn't bother them.
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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Mar 16, 2017 12:48 AM CST
Agree with what others have answered but will add that if you want grown from a specific plant, providing more space will help. They will stay totally happy and healthy in pots...
Also responding to your other post regarding receiving plants and potting them up right away, I've received plants, bare root, and left them in a shady spot out doors with air flow, for more than a month, it is one reason I like semps (i don't recommend doing this I'm just saying these plants take a lot and do fine) Thumbs up

Name: Ed
Central ,NJ (Zone 6b)
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Mar 19, 2017 6:42 PM CST
They do not seem to care what the grown in. I have had them in all sorts of containers from clay pots to a old laundry basket and they just keep on growing.
I very rarely water them unless it's a really long & hot dry spell.

Plants are like that little ray of sunshine on a rainy day.

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