Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Pots Without Drainage Holes = Cachepots

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These cachepots are designed to contain flower pots, not for plants to be grown in them directly.

Don’t believe the popular myth that says if you have a decorative pot without drainage holes, you can fill simply the bottom with drainage layer of gravel or pot shards and then grow a plant in it. It is very difficult to ensure adequate watering in a pot that has no hole to allow excess water to drain away. Drainage layers only help a smidgen: the soil still tends to remain constantly wet and therefore the plants eventually rot. But you can use a pot with no drainage hole… but as a cachepot (a French word meaning “hidden pot”). In other words, place the plant in a standard flower pot (which does have drainage holes), then set the flower pot inside the decorative pot that doesn’t. And any excess water will drain from the flower pot into the cachepot. After watering, remove the flower pot from the cachepot, then tip it over to pour out any excess water.

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These orchids are in cachepots: drain them after each watering.

Note that many orchids are currently sold  in just such a situation: in a flower pot (oddly enough, often transparent!) with drainage holes placed inside a cachepot without any. If you want your orchids to last, always drain the cachepot after watering!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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