Two seedlings in newspaper plant pots against white background
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The Pros And Cons Of Lining A Planter's Drainage
Holes With Newspaper
A major complaint of container gardeners is potting soil leaking out of the pots. Newspaper can help with this issue, but there are pros and cons to consider before using it.
You can create a barrier to keep soil in the pot by first lining the bottom with newspaper. It’s absorbent enough to let water flow through so the soil won’t get too soggy.
Using newspaper inside of metal containers or in pots kept on top of concrete or pavers can insulate the dirt and roots against damaging radiant heat, especially on sunny porches.
Since terra cotta pots are porous and dry out fast, a layer of newspaper in the bottom keeps them damp. Plus, paper adds nutrients, namely carbon, to the soil when it decomposes.
However, you may not even need to use newspaper because drainage holes under half an inch wide won’t cause enough loss of potting soil to make this extra step worth it.
According to houseplant expert Vladan Nikolic, simply using “a porous and well-draining potting mix, enhanced with large-particle amendments” eliminates the need for newspaper.
Newspapers can break down, allowing diseases to thrive. Hefty layers of paper can also raise the water table, creating a layer of moisture-logged soil that can lead to root rot.
Use this idea for plants that are repotted often and need a liner for a short time. Add about three sheets of paper to the bottom, and wet the pot to help the pieces stay in place.