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Pottery Shards for Drainage?


If you’ve heard that you need pottery shards or rocks at the bottom of the pot for drainage when repotting your houseplants and find this extra step to be inconvenient, garden writer and radio show host C. L. Fornari has some great news for you. Adding anything to the pot besides potting soil is unnecessary and can actually be harmful to your houseplants. 


Fornari shares such garden wisdom in her new book, Coffee For Roses…and 70 Other Misleading Myths About Backyard Gardening. “Putting a layer of rocks in the bottom of pots ‘for drainage’ is something that even confirmed, experienced gardeners have done for years without questioning the practice,” says Fornari, who speaks often on the topic of garden myths and hosts the weekly radio show, GardenLine. "It's not good for your houseplants, because the roots grow down into the shards where there is no soil, water or nutrients."


fornari coffee bananas roses -resized      Coffee for Roses Cover print-Resized-2  fornari roots shards pot-resized

  Photos this article C.L. Fornari                                                                                       Don't put pottery shards on the bottom of pots.                                                           

When Fornari informs gardeners of this myth, they have a hard time believing it. "Yet when I point out that no commercial grower does this and that all potted plants that they buy never contain any rocks or shards, they agree. It just never occurs to us to question this practice, because it's so widespread.” 


For more myth-busting nuggets of gardening wisdom, grab a copy of Fornari’s book. Discover how it’s not always necessary to break up or cut plant rootballs before repotting, and while it might be fun, it’s not doing much good to serve your roses coffee grounds. 


Read more on Fornari's blog, Coffee For Roses.






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