Always cure a new terra cotta pot before planting in it. Otherwise, the pot's sides will draw moisture out of the potting soil and possibly even the plant's root ball. Dry clay wicks water away from the soil and can dry out plant roots.
To cure a clay pot, you need to fully submerge the pot in a bucket of water. You will hear a hissing noise; it's the tiny air pockets within the clay filling with water. When the hissing stops, the pot is ready to go. You can waterproof the sides of a pot by spraying the outside with Scotch-guard. It will take 2 or 3 coats.
By Rhonda from Reedley, CA
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