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Watering Houseplants and Preventing Salt Buildup

When Watering Indoor Plants is Not Enough

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Salt Damage on a Terra Cotta Pot

Salt Damage on a Terra Cotta Pot

Marie Iannotti
Giving your potted plants just enough water so the soil gets wet, but no water runs through the bottom of the pot can lead to salt buildup in the soil. Eventually you will start to see it leeching through to the outside of the pot. It's not just unsightly and harming the container, but it is also harming the plant in it.

Excessive salt can inhibit the growth of plants. Plants grown in containers have to make due with a limited amount of soil and anything in it will be reflected in the plant's growth and general vigor.

Don't wait until you start to see a whitish crust on the soil or sides of the pot. At least once a month, water your potted plants thoroughly, so that excess salts will be flushed out the drainage hole of the pot. Make sure you have a coaster under the pot, or move it to the sink or tub. make sure to remove any sitting water, which can cause the roots to rot.

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