Choosing the right pot size for your plant

Choosing the right pot size for your plant

Jan 29 , 2020

Whilst I don’t believe in “hacks” for gardening, there are a few things you can do that optimise plant care, or make it easier to keep your green babies alive. Choosing the right sized pot is one of them. Whilst you can pot up a plant in any size vessel you like, choosing an appropriately sized one improves drainage, reducing the likelihood of too-damp soil, and in turn, the risk of root rot.


Example of roots of a Peperomia plant. Note how they're quite shallow.

It’s easy to assume that a large pot gives a plant room to grow in. But a large pot holds a lot of soil too - soil that can retain water once the plant’s roots have absorbed as much as they need. Plants outdoors often do well in over sized pots; they drink up a lot more from soil than plants in less light. Indoor plants however receive significantly less energy from the sun, and therefore absorb less water from their roots.

As a rough rule, try to match the size of the pot to that of the roots. This allows for a good ratio of soil to roots, so excess water runs out of the base rather than creating waterlogged soil. Now, it doesn’t too matter about the length of the roots - they can be double the length of pot - but they should fit nicely inside the pot, even if curled around themselves, & soil is added to fill the gaps.

Example of an appropriately sized pot for the roots of the above pictured plant

A side by side comparison of the roots of the plant vs the pot size. I probably could have gone a bit smaller too, but this was all I had on hand