If you enjoy taking care of flowers or growing your own herbs, you know that their containers or seeding trays also need cleaning to be prepared for the new season’s inhabitants.
Whether the pot is clay or plastic, mineral deposits and other debris may harbor disease organisms and cause problems for your plants.
First, check your planters for any cracks or chips that would make your plants vulnerable and consider recycling the damaged ones. Pieces of broken terracotta pots can be successfully used at the bottom of other pots for better draining.
To clean your pots, dip a stiff brush into a weak solution of household bleach or detergent (for example, a mix of 10 parts water to 1 part chlorine bleach). Then, scrub inside and outside the containers. Soaking the pots in the cleaning solution for about 10 minutes will make scrubbing easier. Do not use your kitchen sink for the purpose. Do not forget to wear gloves and old clothes.
Rinse the pots thoroughly and soak them in a bucket of clean water.
Let them dry well before storing them in your green house, basement, garage or shed where they will remain dry, because moisture is a breathing environment for bacteria and mildew. If you plan to store the containers outside for the winter, weather conditions will encourage bacteria growth, so you better schedule a spring cleaning for your pots.
It’s definitely worth the effort to have your containers last longer and grow healthier plants.