A flowerpot, flower pot, or plant pot is a container in which flowers and other plants are cultivated and displayed. Historically, and still to a significant extent today, they are made from terracotta. Flowerpots are now often also made from plastic, wood, stone, or sometimes biodegradable material. An example of biodegradable pots are the so-called "Jiffy" pots. There are often holes in the bottom, to allow excess water to flow out, sometimes to a saucer that is placed under the flowerpot. The plant can use this water with its roots, as needed. Recently, some flowerpots have been made with an automatic watering system, using a reservoir.
Flowerpots have a number of uses, from transporting plants to new locations, starting seeds, patio and indoor cultivation of plants, and the growing of tender plants in colder regions indoors. Through the centuries, the use of flowerpots has influenced the horticultural use of plants, and the Egyptians were among the first to use pots to move plants from one location to another. The Romans brought potted plants inside during cold weather. In the 18th century, pots were used to ship breadfruit seedlings from Tahiti to the West Indies. Also Orchids, African violets and Pelargonium geraniums were shipped in pots from other parts of the world, including Africa, to North America and Europe.
In Athens, earthenware flowerpots were thrown into the sea during the festival of the Gardens of Adonis. Theophrastus, c. 371 – c. 287 BC, mentions that a plant called southern-wood was raised and propagated in pots because it was difficult to grow.
The top of the flowerpot underneath the rim is commonly known as the shoulder or collar and can aid handling.
In the nursery business, plants are generally grown in round or square plastic pots. The sizes of these pots have been standardized by the American Nursery & Landscape Association in ANSI standard Z60.1-2004 "American Standard for Nursery Stock". Pots designated #1-#100 nominally have the volume of that many gallons; in fact, a #1 pot has a capacity of 0.625 gallons (a "trade gallon"). There is also a Small Plant series: SP1, 6.5-8.0 in3; SP2, 13.0-15.0 in3; SP3, 20.0-30.0 in3; SP4, 51-63 in3; SP5, 93-136 in3. An SP4 pot is commonly called a "4-inch" or "quart" container.
Flower pots were traditionally made from terracotta. They were made and sold by the cast, which is the number of pots produced from a given quantity of clay. The traditional sizes were as follows, although others existed:
|Name||No. to cast||Top diameter (inches)||Depth (inches)|
|Seventy-twos or thimbles||72||2.5|
|Nineties or thumbs||90||1|
A taller and thinner shape of pot, suitable for deep-rooting plants, was known as a long tom, a term still used. The traditional size for a long tom used for auriculas was 3in diameter by 3.75 to 4in depth.
A flowerpot with straw, constructed to attract and house dermaptera-species
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- "Etaerio - A Plant News Weblog: The History of the Flowerpot". Ubcbotanicalgarden.org. 2004-09-07. Retrieved 2010-04-22.
- "In praise of the flowerpot / The Christian Science Monitor". CSMonitor.com. 2004-08-18. Retrieved 2010-04-22.
- Meteyard, Eliza (1866). The Life of Josiah Wedgwood: From His Private Correspondence and Family Papers.. Hurst and Blackett. p. 154.
- Birch, Samuel (1858). History of Ancient Pottery. J. Murray. p. 202.
- http://americanhort.org/documents/nursery_stock_standards_AmericanHort_2004.pdf, 2004
- Z60.1, p. ii-iii
- Thomas, H. H.; Forsyth, Gordon. The Popular Encyclopedia of Gardening: Volume 1. The Waverley Book Company Limited. p. 320.
- Dorey, Paul (2011). Auriculas: an essential guide. The Crowood Press. p. 70.
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The archaeology of the flowerpot in England and Wales c. 1650-1950 C.K. Currie; Garden History 21.2, 227-46 (1993)