Black pots can dry out quickly if they are small, plastic and kept in full sun. Black pots are commonly used when they are sold from nurseries. These pots are great for small plants in shade because they hold water well and the shade will stop the plant from overheating. It is best not to leave small, black pots in full sun as they can dry out quickly.
This article will explore all you need to know about growing plants in black pots including how you can keep them cool. Black pots can be great for growing plants but there are some tips that can help you succeed.
What makes black pots dry out
Small black pots can dry out quickly if they are placed in full sun. I often buy my seedlings in small black trays or pots and these dry out quickly. These are usually kept in part shade in garden centers because the black plastic will heat up and can damage the small seedlings.
Larger plants are often sold in black pots as well. These can dry out as well if they are left in the summer sun. If you need to leave the plants in their original, black plastic pot try to keep them in the shade for the afternoon. This will prevent the soil from drying and cooking the plant.
It is possible to kill a plant within a day if you leave a black spot in the sun.
The benefits of black pots for growing plants
While black pots can warm up quickly if they are left in the sun there is a reason why they are used for growing plants in nurseries. Here are the top benefits of growing plants in black pots
1. Keep plants warmer in winter
Black pots might seem like they will dry out too quickly but in winter the black pots can help to keep them warm and grow quicker. Filtered light through shadecloth or a greenhouse will keep the pot warm. Warm soil helps seeds and seedlings to grow faster, particularly in winter.
2. Holds water well
Black plastic pots hold water in the pot well. The plastic itself holds water in and keeps the roots moist. While the black color my dry out in direct sun, the pot will keep the roots moist and protected it is kept in shade.
3. Easy to clean
Black pots are easy to clean and then reuse to raise new seedlings or grow new plants. After you have transplanted your new plant into a bigger pot or garden bed the black plastic pot can be washed. Use warm soapy water to remove extra soil and let it dry in sunlight to kill any fungus or bacteria.
Use black plastic pots as inner pots for indoors
I like to use black plastic pots as the inner pots for my indoor plants. I will plant my indoor pothos or monstera in an outdoor black pot with drainage holes. I then place it inside the outer indoor pot without drainage holes. The outer pot will catch any drips or soil and the black pot is disguised by the outer pot.
The black plastic is not noticeable when you place it inside an indoor pot. You can then move the inner pot into a new outer pot to change the look or move locations.
When to plant out seedlings in black pots
If you buy small plants or seedlings in black pots it is best to plant them out into a garden bed or larger pot as soon as you can. Small seedlings like tomatoes, peppers, or basil will last better if they are planted out and not allowed to dry out.
In the warmer weather of summer, the plants in black pots are at more risk of drying out. If the soil does dry out before you plant them you can soak them in some water and seaweed solution in a bucket. Leave the plant to soak for 5 minutes and this will rehydrate the roots and help the plant to recover.
Do large black pots dry out?
Ceramic black pots or large pots that are made from recycled plastic are great choices for a modern backyard. They look great and can help plants to grow quicker in winter. Black pots with some thermal weight like those made from ceramic or terracotta will generally stay cooler for longer.
These larger pots with more soil will take longer to warm up and can protect the roots. Plastic pots however will conduct heat quickly to the soil and can dry out.
To stop the pot from drying out as quickly use good quality soil and add some mulch to the top of the pot. This will keep the moisture in the soil for longer and help to protect the plant roots.
How to keep black pots cool
The best way to keep black pots cool is to place them in a position that gets afternoon shade. The afternoon sun will heat up a black pot quickly particularly in summer so it is best to put it in a position that protects it.
Citrus trees planted in black pots will benefit from afternoon shade. The black pot can also warm the roots and even cause leaves to burn if they get too much sun.
Mulch is also a great way to keep the pot, plant and roots cool. I like to add a layer of bark mulch on the top of all my pots to keep the moisture in the soil.
I have some petunias planted in black pots which will be growing over summer. I have moved them out the back of my house which now gets the shade from a large potted bird of paradise. My petunias were getting nibbled by snails out the front of my house so moving out the back has solved both problems.
While petunias love full sun, these black pots warm up quickly so they will spend the summer getting morning sun and afternoon shade.
Do black pots dry out too fast? | Summary
Black plastic pots can dry out quickly if they are left in the sun. The smaller the pot and the plant, the quicker it can suffer in a full sun position. Plant out small seedlings into a garden bed or in the ground and move them from their tiny black pots to protect them.
Move large black pots in a position that gets afternoon shade to keep the plants happy over summer and prevent their roots from drying out. Water plants in black pots regularly and check their soil to make sure they stay moist. Citrus trees in particular will need extra water if they are grown in black pots.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.