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Confessions of a Pot Hoarder

Behind this outer wall of partly cleaned pots are shelves 2-feet wide jammed full of pots of all sizes. Photo:

Yes, I’m a pot hoarder. I have thousands of pots stored in my basement, more than I could ever possibly expect to use, yet I continue to collect more. 

Like many hoarders, I didn’t realize I had a hoarding habit. I was just putting pots aside for future use, after all. Then one day I was showing a plant friend my potting bench and work area and she pointedly remarked, “You do know that you can take used pots to the garden center and they’ll reuse or recycle them, don’t you?” I immediately made excuses for why I really did need all of those pots for future plantings and she just sighed. Caught out! 

I do give pots away … sometimes. OK, rarely. Only to deserving plant people. Or to my kids to encourage them to become deserving plant people. Mostly, though, they just build up and up. 

Of course, I don’t just accumulate. When I’m potting plants up, I do use my recycled pots … but in spite of the huge numbers, I always seem to have a hard time finding exactly the size I want. With thousands of pots stored away, how is that even possible? Yet it happens. 

It’s the larger ones that run out. Like any gardener, I keep potting smaller plants into larger ones as they grow. Eventually I reach the point where they’re all taken, so I buy more. I never buy small pots or even medium pots: I have plenty of those!

Pots come in such a mix of sizes and shapes that stacking them becomes an art in itself. Photo:

I classify pots according to size, inserting one into the other to save space (for more pots to come, obviously). That’s when you realize there is an extraordinary number of pots shapes and sizes on the market. And that makes storing them a nightmare. Some pots are a bit taller, a bit wider at the base, a bit narrower than others, so stacking them logically is quite a hassle. Couldn’t pot manufacturers just choose a limited range of standard pot sizes and stick to those? But obviously, they don’t even speak to each other, as the range of pot sizes just keeps on growing. And I keep desperately trying to put them into some sort of reasonable order.

A Magazine Hoarder

Just part of my magazine collection. Photo:

My hoarding habits extend to gardening magazines too. I have 45 years-worth of them! For some, I have the whole series, from the first publication to the last. (Yes, sadly, so many plant magazines are no more!) I almost never consult them, although that’s the reason I give myself to explain why I keep them. 

Most are magazines I subscribe to or used to subscribe to. Others are gifts from plant friends who had no room for theirs. I doubt if I’ve ever opened one of those, yet I hang onto them, too.  

Although I now realize I’m hoarding, I still can’t imagine actually getting rid of my excesses. Nope, I figure I’ll just hang onto them, as I still do have room for more. Honestly, I really do! 

When I die, though, someone is going to need to organize a major pot and plant magazine give away!

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.

2 comments on “Confessions of a Pot Hoarder

  1. Patricia Evans

    I can so identify with the pot hoarding, The magazines, not so much.

  2. As a nurseryman, I can not hoard pots. I do keep #1 and #5, and a few #15 cans about, but unused pots that do not conform (and can therefore not be stacked neatly away) must go! I grow too many things for pots of odd sizes. I sometimes use the odd pots for fancy perennials that get given away, so I need not be the one to discard them.

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