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Does Pot Size Matter?

Nov 12,2021 | Cassandra Low

Choosing a pot for your plant may seem like it’s only a matter of aesthetics, but the size and shape of your planter along with the soil/potting mix you choose has a direct result on the amount of available water for your plant. 

What happens if my pots are too small?

The soil serves as the main source of nutrients for any plant. With less soil in a smaller pot, there are fewer nutrients available for the plant's root system. A pot that is too small can constrict the plant's roots, especially plants with big roots. The roots can get packed in without having enough room to spread out. If this happens, the plant's growth may slow down. You might also have issues with the plant tipping over because of the extra weight in comparison to the pot. And the plant may just look out of proportion.

One way to know if your plant needs a bigger pot is to look for roots poking out of the drainage holes in the bottom. A pot that is too small also won't hold enough water to support the plant. And the soil dries out quickly. You might notice that the plant shows signs of drought sooner if the container is too small.

What happens if my pots are too big?

It may seem like going with an oversized pot is better so you can avoid the crowded root situation. But a pot that's too big for your plant can also have negative effects on its growth. A pot that is too large for a plant can hold too much water in the soil or take too long to dry out, which can lead to mold growth, rot and root diseases. Too large of a plant pot also can make it difficult to keep the soil firmly packed around the plant's roots. And, just like a pot that's too small, a large pot can make your plant look out of proportion to its container.

What is the ideal pot size?

The best pot for each plant depends on the type of plant, the size of the plant and its needs. A pot should allow the plant's root system to spread out somewhat and drain well. This means that the pot should not be soaked after it is watered because the water should drain out the bottom. If your plant is currently in a pot that's too small, move it to a container that's about 2 to 4 inches larger in diameter. Opt for the higher end of the range if the plant tends to grow quickly.

Here’s a handy guideline

  • Increase pot size by 1 to 2 inches in diameter for plants that are growing in pots 10 inches in diameter or less. 
  • For larger plants, those growing in pots greater than 10 inches in diameter, increase the pot size by 2 or 3 inches in diameter.

Now you know how important it is to give your plants some breathing room with the right pot size so they can have the required space to grow properly. It’s time to evaluate your plant and pot size today to see if both are appropriate for each other. Check out our different types of pots so that your plants don’t suffer!