Mildew/Mold On Clay Pots

floridabear(10b)February 8, 2007

Some of my pots that are not old,maybe a few months,are covered in like mold,mildew or algae? I scrub the pot and it just grows back in days. While other pots siting right next to them,are perfectly clean! I don't know how to get rid of it. The plants are doing great,so I'm not over watering,but I am getting to the point I might try bleach! But I bet it would kill the plants through the clay??? They are inside on window ledges,if they were outside,Martha Stewart would think this is wonderful to have these pots looks so 'ancient' and yet they are only months old. But inside,it just looks gross! Any tips?

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fred_hill(6)

Try using a 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Soak the pot before u pot it up. Rinse it thoroughly and eventually switch to plastic like most of us do.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 3:17PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Hi F.

1. Do not use clay pots. The salts in the soil leach through and stain the surface. The more porous is the pot and the wetter is the soil - the faster you get it. The violet leaves touch the edges of these pots and get burns.

2. If you use the for the plants that do not touch the edges - for example I use them for amaryllis because they are heavy and do not tip - every time I repot - once a year for amaryllis - I soak the pots fore a couple of days in water with clorax mostly to get rid of the salts.

3. Take Martha Stewart advice - and enjoy the "patina".

Good luck and good smiles.

Irina

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 3:47PM
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greenthumbgardener

I use both plastic and clay pots and have success with both. But some of my african violets seem to do much better with the clay pots. Before I plant my violets I dip the rims of the pots in melted parrafin, and if the leaves touch the pots, it doesn't matter. Once and awhile I take a damp rag and wipe them off with a bleach/water solution that was mentioned above.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 7:33PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Greenthumbgardener -

excellent solution to prevent burns. Clay pots permit water to get out and I believe air to get in - so may be the roots are happier with more air to breath. They keep the soil cooler in summer etc.

It seems to me that they do not work well with wicks - and people who want to grow show quality plants for competition - all wick their plants. Plus the big collection of violets is usually kept on the shelf with lights - and they are just too heavy.

I.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 11:49PM
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vchickadee_verizon_net

Isn't there a product to apply to the outside of the pot to use to prevent mold and mineral deposits?

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 8:55PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Virginia -
probably some kind of sealer they recommend for the floor tile or granite. You can get it in Home Depot. Or just buy the glazed pots.

You probably need to apply it from both inside and outside of the pot - because if the mineral rich water gets absorbed from inside - it will make it to the ouside surface and stain it under the sealer.

I would say using plastic pots for planting and ceramic pots for decorative cachepots probably less hassle. You can get all kind of sizes of inexpensive palstic pots in the nursery - and just "double pot" them in your pot of a choice.

Irina

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 1:52PM
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quimoi

Seen Martha winning any prizes for her african violets?

I've never grown an african violet in clay, but if you do clean them by soaking in bleach as Fred recommended, which is good advice for a dirty pot, it's also important to neutralize the bleach by putting them into a vinegar/water solution soak. I have lost the exact proportions but am using 1 pt. vinegar to 8 parts water. It used to be on the web but I can't find it any more. Bleach is basically not good for pottery/clay, but here the pot is not the most important thing. (I am saying don't use bleach on any collectible pottery.)

Of course people have raised violets in clay so we should not say stop doing something that is working, I guess. I use clay for some other things. I'm not too fond of those squatty pots, except they fit under lights better.

Diana in PA

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 3:13PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

I would say that people who live in hot climates probably can take advantage of the cooling ability of the clay pots. I remember the discussion regarding streptocarpus growing. When it is hot - and if you do not run the airconditioning till you shiver - the streps do go into decline and die. The ones in clay pots have cooler soil and cooler roots and they survive the summer OK. I can recall advice to put a strep pot into bigger clay pot and fill the space with wet sphagnum moss. Clay pot works a miniature swamp cooler and saves the cool loving plant in the heat of the summer.

Jst want to remind -we are talking about porous clay pots, not glazed.

In dry climates - hello from Colorado - the extra porosity of clay pots will create an undesirable effect of too much water loss and too much fertilizer sediments on the clay. With a very loose soil we use for violets we will be watering them twice a day in clay pots.

I.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 4:53PM
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ethannorvell_gmail_com

It seems to me, from all the information given, that African violets perform better in plastic pots (I use the ones that have a little lip on the side, with a reservoir so u can water without touching the leaves. Anyway, I am currently using clay pots to grow aloe vera because the don't need much water, and I am soaking them in water and bleach.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 3:48PM
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fred_hill(6)

EThan,
If you ever try to enter a plant into a show you might be refused because of the "Lip". Rules state that there should be no support of leaves showing. IF that's the type of pot u are using you would have to repot before u entered it.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 4:48PM
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