pot within a pot
Tip kindly provided by Tony Poole

During last summer I was discussing the current growing season with an eminent fuchsia grower. He said that he was concerned that some of his plants were suffering and not thriving as they should be, despite all the normal care and attention he was giving them. On removing the plants from their pots he noticed that the outer roots were brown and appeared scorched. From this he concluded that it was due to the plants being burnt due the excessive heat from the sun on the plastic pot.

For many years now I have grown my plants in a double pot system or I have had them standing in pot stands which dissipate the heat from the rays of the sun. It wasn’t until I had this conversation that I really gave this any thought, and I now realise that this may be helpful to other growers.

Use an inert material to fill the gap

A plant pot the same size as the pot that the plant is growing in is placed inside another pot which is any size larger than this pot. This is the same method used when potting up a smaller plant into a larger pot, however this time the gap in-between is filled with any inert material such as gravel, sand, grit or hortag etc. Peat tends to dry out very quickly and it can be difficult to get this to re-absorb the moisture. The reason for this inner pot is to allow the plant to be removed from the other pots to enable this to be checked, stopped and most importantly to have the roots inspected to ensure that they are not growing into the medium in search of moisture.

The inert material between the pots can be watered as much as you like as provided that there is adequate drainage to the pot this will aid humidity around the plant (this is also good for preventing red spider mite). Note that watering, feeding and turning of the plant must be continued as usual.

This method as described is not to be confused with a ‘ring culture’ type system whereby the plant is double potted for the purpose of increasing the size of the plant by providing extra compost to a smaller pot. This method if contemplated for exhibition plants is frowned upon and is quite evident to a trained fuchsia judge. It is quite dramatic how any such plant wilts when removed from this secondary growing medium.

The use of this method also increases the weight of the pots especially if the outer pot is terracotta and will help to prevent them blowing over.

Several larger pots can be attached to a board (such as a scaffold board) and be made ready to accept the pots as necessary and will also give stability to the pots.

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