Star Tortoise Garden @
Star Tortoise Garden @

Flowerpot Gardening

Plastic pots

Many of the old plastic flowerpots I use for growing tortoise food have become so brittle in the sun that they crack and fall apart when I pick them up. I needed to get new pots and I found something better to replace the old ones. Fabric flowerpots! :O)

Hibiscus plant

Hibiscus plant. My tortoises love the flowers, but also like to eat the leaves.

broken plastic flower pots

Old broken flowerpots. Plastic pots are not abrasive and do not scrape tortoise shells like ceramic and terracotta pots may do, but the cheaper plastic flowerpots only last a couple of season before they start falling apart from sun damage.

Fabric & felt pots

Fabric flowerpots are made of fabric or felt like materials and they have many benefits. They keep plants cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. They also let excess water drain, allow roots to breathe, and prevent root circling inside the pot.

Fabric flower pots are available in many sizes, strengths, and designs from several companies. Some are biodegradable while others are non-degradable and last many years. Check the labels.

The "boxer" line of the Root Pouch fabric pots is one of my favorites. Root Pouch's boxer pots are made of recycled water bottles and are non-degradable. The material feels like thick felt. Boxer pots are strong and are available with or without handles. I like the ones handles for movability and I prefer to buy them in green or brown color because they blend in the vegetation better.

Some of my boxer felt pots are shown below. I mostly use 1, 5, and 10 gallon pots, but they are available in larger sizes as well. Up to 600 gallons!

felt fabric flowerpots

Newly planted green colored "boxer" felt flower pots in one gallon size.

felt fabric flowerpots

Larger five gallon "boxer" flower pots with new hibiscus plants.

A few months later...

My tortoise food plants are thriving in these felt pots. However, the pots do get somewhat discolored looking from water and wet soil, but that's fine with me. Only makes the pots look more natural and blend into the landscape. :0)

Softness is another big plus of these felt pots. I like to use planted flowerpots as sight barriers and as shade areas in my tortoise pens. When tortoises brush against cushiony fabric flowerpots, no scraping or shell damage happens.

no root circling in a fabric flowerpot

When moving plants from the smaller old felt pots to bigger ones, I noticed that there indeed was no root circling at all. This one's a mulberry.

A few years later...

Over time, plant roots may grow into the ground through the fabric flowerpot bottom. You can prevent it by periodically rotating or lifting up the pot to snip off the new downward shoots. Or, do like me, just let the roots grow. This way the scrub will plant itself with no work required from you. :0)

Hibiscus plants rooting through fabric flowerpots

Here are Hibiscus bushes that have rooted themselves into the ground. I took this photo in the winter time, so the plants aren't very lush or green.

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