Killer Plant Pot?

Discussion in 'Small Space Gardening' started by Deb LSG, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. Deb LSG

    Deb LSG Member

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    I bought some large glazed ceramic pots from London Drugs and have planted wave petunias in them. I planted the same wave petunias in plastic pots that are the same size. I've used the same soil, same fertilizer, same watering schedule. Both get similar light. The one in the plastic pot is thriving. The one in the ceramic is stunted with very yellow leaves. The water that drains from the bottom of the pot leaves a white residue on the deck around the pot. Could the pot be contaminated with something? What do I do? Can I save the plant? Can I save the pot?
     
  2. KENNETH5636

    KENNETH5636 Active Member

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    Hi Deb!

    As a potter, there are some glazes that contain toxic chemicals that are poisonous to humans, as to whether they affect plants as well is a question you might get an answer to elswhere on the web.

    Earthenware pots are quite porus, and, in addition, if they are from an Asiatic source the clay may not have been properly washed/prepared and may contain various salts that may react with your plants as they leach out from watering, especially if the water you are using is rainwater,which tends to be mildly acidic! (Similar to efflorescence you get on some brickwork, it looks like a white powdery coating)!

    Plastic on the other hand is fairly inert as regards chemical reactions.

    Stoneware is generally better, as it is fired to a much higher temperature, and that seals in any salts that may be in the clay.

    Hope this has been of some help to you Deb.

    Best regards,

    Ken.
     
  3. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    The residue may or may not be related to what is happening to the plants.

    The amount of water lost in a pot will depend on its surface area and drainage. Say the ceramic pots are wider and flatter, and have bigger holes, then they will need more watering for the plants to be kept equally moist. If the pots are porous, they may also dry out faster than plastic does.

    I have plants growing in several London Drugs pots, and I haven't noticed any residue or plant death problems. Perhaps, as Ken suggests, the clay just didn't get washed well one day.
     
  4. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    You could put a plastic pot inside the problem pots till they age. That way you can have yr pots and flowers.
    Liz
     
  5. KENNETH5636

    KENNETH5636 Active Member

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    An excellent idea Liz!

    Best regards,

    Ken.
     
  6. bunting

    bunting Member

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    Hi Deb

    I did the same thing. The ones in ceramic died and the plastic thrived.

    I thought maybe the reason was the plastic can breath where cermamic can't with the glaze

    I found the same thing happened with house plants

    Bunting
     
  7. KENNETH5636

    KENNETH5636 Active Member

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    Hi there!

    As a potter, I can only guess that the pot was glazed with a glaze that has certain amount of toxic elements in it, that leach out when it's watered with a possibly slightly acidic rainwater.

    Over here, certain types of glazes are forbidden to be used in food preparation ceramics, as chemicals/metals will leach out into the food, especially salad bowls where acidic vinegars are used in the preparation of salads which exacerbates the situation.

    Most, if not all of these cheap plant pots come from the East, or Far East, and are not subject to our rigorous laws. Check out where yours came from!

    Try and get a sample of the stuff that leaches out of your pots and get it analysed for toxic chemicals/metals.

    You may have a possible chance of legal redress if it contains the above mentioned toxins.

    Best Regards,

    KEN.

    PS, Back in the days of our ancestors, they used to drink ale etc from Pewter Tankards, the metals that leached from those Tankards blinded & killed a lot of folks back then!

    "Not a lot of people know that"! (Michael Caine)!
     
  8. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Indeed, I have heard that those who drank more than a dozen pints of ale a day used to die an early death. That pewter can be deadly!
     
  9. bunting

    bunting Member

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    HI

    If you have a chance to come to NS, visit Fort Louiseburg in Cape Breton

    They explain the effects of puter utensils and deaths from them

    A friend many years ago started me on collecting puter and silver baby cups

    I have only 4 puters . It's beyond me why more children didn't die back then

    Bunting
     
  10. KENNETH5636

    KENNETH5636 Active Member

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    Re: Pewter Poisoning. (it Did For Mozart)

    About Pewter

    Pewter is an alloy made primarily of tin, with small amounts of antimony and other metals to add hardness and other desirable features. In the past, pewter was made with large amounts of lead since lead was cheaper to obtain than tin. This was particularly true in Roman times when the use of pewter was extremely popular and used in place of silver. Lead was readily available in the Mediterranean, but tin had to be imported from England. Leaded pewter is darker and heavier. When it was discovered that leaded pewter was allowing small amounts of lead to leech into food and drink and was contributing to lead poisoning problems, manufacturers of pewter products switched to a variety of pewter known as Britannia pewter. Britannia pewter gets its name from the area where tin was more available. Britannia pewter contains no lead. It is completely safe to eat from and drink out of. Britannia pewter, because it contains no lead, is lighter in weight and in colour. Leaded pewter is still a concern for antique pewter objects, but all modern pewter that comes in contact with food is the lead-free variety. Britannia pewter is not the only variety of lead-free pewter currently available, and it is still possible to find sculptures made from the traditional leaded pewter.

    The only other lead poisoning I can recall apart from some pottery glazes was the renowned Colt 45!


    BESTEST REGARDS,

    KEN.
     
  11. bunting

    bunting Member

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    Re: Pewter Poisoning. (it Did For Mozart)



    Very interesting Ken

    There is a date on the bottom of one of the cups rather roughly drawn in in with a blunt object. so I assume is made of mainly lead and pewter. Would it be this far back? I am sure it would be or I bought it as pewter at an auction

    The date is 1842

    Bunting
     
  12. KENNETH5636

    KENNETH5636 Active Member

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    The date is 1842

    Yup!!!...............Purty sure it contains lead and other toxic metals!

    Dinna drink from it laddie!

    PS, you can scrape a small a small bit of it off, and get it analysed!


    Bestest regards,


    KEN.

    Live long and Prosper!
     
  13. TheInfiniteRuckus

    TheInfiniteRuckus Member

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    I'm not aware of the toxic side of ceramic pots but i feel they dehydrate the soil terribly and I've seen this white ring. i always say go with plastic over ceramic 100%
     
  14. KENNETH5636

    KENNETH5636 Active Member

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    Hi Ruckus!

    The impurities of some clay pots & their glazes has been well documented, it all depends on where and how the the clay was processed before it was manufactured into pots!

    Some garden pots from the Far East are fired with glazes that contain toxic materials that can leach out of the pots into the earth/compost that is placed in the pots for the plants.
    Even more chance of the above happening if the earth/soil/compost put in them is of an acidic nature!

    On a personal note, I tend to agree with you on plastic pots, but after a while, Ultra-Violet light tends to degrade them, they go all brittle and fall apart, whereas the clay pots I use I have had for years, provided I don't abuse them!

    In addition, I use "Stoneware" pots unglazed as they are not porous when fired to vitrifiction, unlike earthenware pots, which will remain slightly porous, even when glazed!

    Regards,

    KEN.
     
  15. Fossil

    Fossil Active Member 10 Years

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    I bought some quite expensive clay pots last year, including a very nice strawberry pot. I left them in a sheltered spot outside for the winter & just discovered that large chunks of both glaze & the clay have fallen off & the pots are garbage now. There was no warning about leaving them outdoors - was I just stupid not to realize I shouldn't do this?
     
  16. KENNETH5636

    KENNETH5636 Active Member

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    Hi Fossil!

    The answer to your problems is in my last letter!
    _________________________________________________________________________
    ((In addition, I use "Stoneware" pots unglazed as they are not porous when fired to vitrifiction, unlike earthenware pots, which will remain slightly porous, even when glazed!))
    __________________________________________________________________________

    My posts are "STONEWARE", not "CLay"!

    Stoneware is fired to a much higher temperature, in fact it's fired to vitrification, i.e, it's non porous whereas clay will always remain slightly porous, even when glazed, so when it freezes the clay will split and lumps fall off!
    If you intend to leave your pots out all winter, get "STONEWARE" POTS!

    Also, you are not stupid, if you are (and the seller) not aware of the differences in different types of pottery, (and those that sell the stuff probably don't even know that their wares are not frost resistant), they can hardly advise you to overwinter them in a dry envrionment!


    BEST REGARDS,


    KEN.
     
  17. KENNETH5636

    KENNETH5636 Active Member

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    Being as how I live in the U.K, I think it's just a bit too far for me to go look.......What?

    Regards.
     
  18. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    Deb LSG
    Some day the Plastic vs Pottery (of any kind) will be solved for you. When you get too old and arthritic to move the **** pottery or clay type pot full of plant and dirt. Plastic tho maybe not as pretty sure is lighter.

    If I really need a big pot I use an old fiberglass (I believe) laundry sink. Big, square. grey and with a lovely drain hole. Use with legs or remove them. Spray paint them to blend in and off you go. Just be sure you put them where they will stay because it takes two large men and a dolly to move them. Still they are lighter that a comparable sized clay pot.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008
  19. C.Wick

    C.Wick Active Member

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    Many glazes that are used just for 'decorative potting' have leads in them...sadly. When I did a lot of pottery in my younger days my teacher would yell if he caught me handling it bare handed (I tended to enjoy sticking my hand in there to stir instead of using a stick or blender). Many colors are very toxic to skin as well as plants. That white residue is highly likely to be a lead residue that many of the ceramic companies still use. They don't put warnings on those products as people (hopefully) dont' lick them. lol
    Although to me more attractive? I still use the plastics more...and more often then not now just stuff the plastic ones inside the ceramic ones. That way...when winter comes...I can just lift them out and not worry about the expanding/contracting damage they can get.
     
  20. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    In defense of the glazed ceramic pots from London Drugs I have a bonsai Japanese maple that has been living a glazed ceramic pots from London Drugs for about 4 years now. That small tree has survived for years. Maybe petunias like simply prefer plastic over ceramic.

    I tried petunias in a unglazed terracotta pot and the results were less than spectacular.
     
  21. KENNETH5636

    KENNETH5636 Active Member

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    ????????
    The person whom originally complained about the ceramic pot, (as far as I can remember, as this was some considerable time ago) asked what the [U]possible[/U] cause of the "salts" leaching out of the pot that were contaminating his plants!

    Not all glazes are impermeable, and some do allow moisture to reach the clay beneath!
    In addition, I think he/she said they used rainwater, which tends to be acidic, and reacts with any impurities within the clay body of the pot!

    Further, he/she may just have bought pots that were just a part of a bad batch, and I recommended the use of stoneware, as it is fired to vitrification, and is impermeable to water!(Glazed or not)

    There was no intended criticism of the pot supplier!

    Sorry if I only have a vague recollection of the above as it was some considerable time ago!
     

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