If you are like most gardeners, reusing and recycling items is common practice. I reuse flower pots from season to season, but one thing that should become a common practice is cleaning those flower pots before reusing them. Here are a few tips for cleaning and preparing your flower pots for reuse.
Empty Your Flower Pots
Empty your flower pots completely or old soil, dead plants and any insects (like ants) that have themselves at home in the pot. Turn the pot upside down and tap the bottom to get everything out. If you need to, use a trowel to knock out any dirt that is stuck. Empty the old potting soil into a wheelbarrow or a large bucket to keep it contained.
Use a hose to rinse the dirt residue out of the pots. Be sure to spray the inside and the outside. Line all of your pots up on a sunny day and spend a few minutes rinsing all of them together. Be sure to check the pots for cracks or damage that might make them unusable. Discard any pots that are damaged, or find a way to repurpose them. Turn a pot upside down and use it as a plant stand for another flower pot.
Scrub the Flower Pots
Use a stiff brush and a solution of bleach and water (one part bleach to nine parts water). If you wish, add a couple of drops of dish detergent to this solution. Scrub the inside and outside of the pots then rinse thoroughly with water.
If you wish, soak your pots in the bleach and water solution for about an hour. This can be done in your bathtub to make draining and rinsing easier. It is not necessary to soak the pots but if you want to make certain any harmful organisms are killed, this extra step would certainly not hurt.
After you have rinsed each pot thoroughly to remove the bleach water and dish detergent, set them out in the sun to drain and dry. After they are dry, you are ready to put them to use.
Reuse Flower Pots
Don’t reuse potting soil from previous seasons. In my area, bags of potting soil can be purchased inexpensively and it is worth it to know that the soil I use in my flower pots is disease-free. I usually use old potting soil to fill holes or low spots in my yard.
Fill your freshly-cleaned pots with new potting soil, to within two inches of the top of the pot. Now you are ready to plant your favorite flowers and enjoy the gardening season.