Why Do Terracotta Pots Get Wet? – 5 Reasons

Terra cotta pots are made from clay and fire-baked to form porous earthenware. Terracotta typically means baked earth or cooked earth. This makes sense because it is baked clay. Gardeners use them in gardens, houseplants, or transplant pots.

You need to be careful about the material used to make the terracotta pots. If they are unglazed, they tend to absorb moisture. Hence, they can easily crack when exposed to cold temperatures.

Terracotta is efficient and helps to improve soil aeration and protect your plant pots from staying wet for a long time. The porous material allows moisture and air to pass easily with a drainage hole in the bottom.

Most houseplants are better off when dry than too wet, and these terracotta pots are made to prevent roots from sitting in standing water.

Why Do Terracotta Pots Get Wet?

1. Improper Care

Terracotta pots are ideal for your houseplants and will help gear you forward. However, after purchasing that kind of pot, you shouldn’t just use it as it is. Instead, take proper care. Even if you have already planted before on terracotta pots, you need to clean them before reusing them again.

Don’t just assume that the same conditions the other plant had been the same that this one will need. Improper care and not taking the relevant measures once you purchase them are what cause the terracotta pots to get wet quickly.

What To Do?

To provide the best care, you need to clean and paint the terracotta pot in the best way possible. Hence, clean the terracotta pot first and make sure you remove all the dirt and debris. You need to choose the right brush to perform the task.

You can paint the terracotta by dipping a paintbrush into an exterior varnish, terracotta sealer, or oil-based polyurethane. While painting, make sure to brush an even coat onto the inside of the terracotta pot and allow it to dry completely after applying all the relevant coats.

First, start with the inside then finish with the exterior parts. For the most efficiency, coat it in three layers.

2. Lack Of Soaking

Have you recently bought a new terracotta pot? Soaking using terra cotta pots help them be stronger and helps the clay retain moisture. This also helps prevent the soil from drying too quickly after planting seeds.

This is an essential procedure before planting to prevent the spreading of any plant disease. Also, once you purchase a terracotta pot, if you don’t soak it, it may end up becoming wet easily.

What To Do?

You should soak it in warm water for at least half an hour. This helps to prevent the pot from wicking excessive moisture from the plant. The pots tend to dry out quickly, so ensure you don’t worsen the situation. Also, ensure you buy a terracotta pot made of high-quality material.

If you have removed a previous plant and planning to plant another, soak the pot by putting it in warm soapy water overnight. You can also decide to add bleach to the soapy solution.

3. Mineral And Salt Spots

Terracotta pots may easily become wet because of mineral and salt spots. Thus, always be careful about the nutrients you give your plants in the terracotta. Excessive of them can be disastrous.

The amount of compost or nutrients you feed your plants needs to be the right amount.

What To Do?

If you want to prevent mineral and salt spots from forming due to water exposure, seal using an exterior varnish or terracotta sealer. This will help ensure the pots last long and don’t affect your growing plants. However, if there are any mineral spots, you can clean the terracotta pots using warm water and a few drops of dish detergents using a scrub brush.

Alternatively, use apple cider vinegar. When done, rinse the pots then dry them with the towel. Ensure they are completely dry before you waterproof them.

4. Poor Material

Always be careful when buying terracotta plants. This is due to the inferior materials used in their manufacture, which renders them ineffective and prone to becoming wet when you water your plant. The likelihood that the pot becomes wet can increase if the makers use clay that is of poor quality or they don’t let it fire properly.

Additionally, clay of lower quality may contain impurities that make it more prone to breaking and cracking, which may result in water damage. Unfired or even poorly fired using terracotta pots may have weak points or structural concerns that make them more vulnerable to damage from moisture absorption.

Hence, this can make it break when you least expect it.

What To Do?

Thus, get from the best dealers and purchase something worth its value of it. This will ensure it lasts long. Also, always look out if you note any cracking on the pot that may deem it a disaster. If you want the proper growth of your houseplants, ensure you use an ideal pot.

5. Excessive Water Damage

Because terracotta is naturally porous, it can absorb water. A portion of the water used to water the pot seeps into the walls and wets them. If you use too much water to irrigate your plants, the terracotta pot will become wet, which will be disastrous for your plants.

That’s why you need to ensure you have soaked your terracotta pot before using it to grow a plant. At times we may not be aware when irrigating our plants, thus just using enough water. The water will eventually cause the pot to crack or break if sufficient time is not given for it to dry out.

What To Do?

Due to their greater ability to absorb water, unglazed terracotta pots are more likely to become wet. To prevent any water damage from absorbing water,  a layer of protective material known as glazing is applied. Thus it is much wiser to use a glazed saucer.

If you use a regular, unglazed terracotta sauce, water will easily seep through and damage any wooden furniture you may have placed on. Use any glazed terracotta saucers, which are typically glazed on the inside to prevent water from penetrating.

Terracotta pots normally have drainage holes at the bottom, thus putting a coffee filter will help enhance the drainage of water in the pot.


Did you know that you can use broken terracotta pots to cover drainage holes when you repot the plant? This can either be for indoor or outdoor reasons. Patina can easily develop on terracotta pots over time.

Thus, you can prevent this by not using tap water to spray your plants. The hard minerals will build upon the clay. Also, use organic fertilizer instead of chemical fertilizer to prevent accelerating the build-up.

Always purchase your terracotta pot from a credible seller, clean, paint, soak, and use minimal water, and additives for your houseplant.

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