How I started making orchid pots

You will often hear potters talk about how they felt when they first connected with clay, the epiphany, the calling etc.  That didn’t happen to me until I realised that I could make my own pots for a rapidly growing orchid addiction, I mean collection, that’s when I started to love pottery.

I started out by having a few pottery lessons with my friend. Then I took pottery courses online. Every day I would try to make something. As I progressed I started to design planters that had shapes that suit or even replicate a plants’ growth.  For instance when I thought about the swollen psuedobulbs and clumping habit of an Oncidium orchid, I could see how a round, bulbous container would suit this growth. What about the upright canes of a Dendrobium? A narrow, taller container would work. It felt intuitive.

I’m not the first to consider a plants’ growth habit as a way of designing pots. The Japanese always consider the container in the culture of bonsai and also the growing of the Neofinetia orchids. The well known potter, Guy Wolff, who wheel throws amazing plant containers, also considers this essential to making a good plant pot.

While clay pots have in recent times been superseded by plastic in orchid culture they are still a preferred container. For a start, they can take the guess work out of watering. Does it feel cool to the touch? Then it’s damp. If it’s warm, it’s dry. Their porosity adds another advantage allowing gas exchange.

Most of the tropical orchids that I grow are epiphytes and tend to use their roots as stilts to climb right out of pots. They do best mounted outside on palms or trees, or on cork or wood. In the tropics wood rots very quickly. So I make terracotta leaves and glue the orchid in place. These can be attached anywhere with decorative aluminum wire and really lend themself to showing off orchids with pendulous flowers and that crawling habit.

Terracotta mounts are lightweight and portable which is another bonus especially if you’re looking to show your plants.  Mounted orchids can be grown inside or out.

Ceramic pots and mounts can look lovely and really add to the appeal of your orchid plants.  They can be painted, glazed or left natural and then over time they can develop a natural patina.  You can even rush to this stage by using yoghurt or buttermilk. 

If you’re looking to buy pots or orchid mounts feel free to visit my online shop, or message or email me with your order.

Follow me on instagram, Facebook or join my mini tropical orchid group

Terracotta wall plantersterracotta air fern plantersPainted terracotta pot
Terracotta leaf mounted with Phalaenopsis parish

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