It takes time, sometimes, to find the right container for a new plant.
I recently rooted some orange-flowering Schlumbergera, given to me by a co-worker who got hers from the estate of an aunt who passed away last summer. No one would take the plant, so she did. (I love plants with a history). Then a stem broke off and she gave that stem to me to root.
I made six cuttings out of it, and now my cuttings are all rooted and are ready to be potted up into a nice new container.
These Schlumbergera, also known as Christmas cactus, are not the most attractive of house plants when they are not flowering, so I want to put them in a nice looking container to give them every advantage.
I would actually prefer something more oblong as I’ve had problems with other Christmas cactus getting too large and top heavy for their containers, which causes them to inexplicitly fall over. This causes stems to break off, which cry out to be rooted, and so you end up with more ugly plants that bloom just a week or so each year because you know you have to root those cuttings.
Anyway, I’ve not yet found a suitable container for these orange-flowerings Christmas cactus, though I have looked everywhere I can think of, in every store I’ve been in that might possibly have containers. And I’ve come up empty handed.
So I went out of my way to a greenhouse/garden center where they sell quite a few houseplants, thinking that they would have a container that would be perfect for my new plants.
When I arrived, I was promptly greeted by the friendly staff and I told them what I was looking for. They suggested a long rectangular shaped metal container, with no drainage holes.
I said, very nicely, “I’m going to put some live plants in it and that has no drainage holes.”
To which one of them replied, “You could still use it if you were careful not to overwater.”
At that point I might have inadvertently given them a look that allowed them to read what was on mind, which was something along the lines of, “Apparently you don’t need to know anything about growing plants to work in a greenhouse no one who knows about growing plants would suggest putting them in a container with no drainage holes what do you think that I am going to do just throw a few ice cubes on them every once in a while and besides that the container is all metal with sharp edged corners and I wouldn’t bring it anywhere near my plants and now I am turned off by this whole experience and I would like to leave because you are suggesting that I put a growing plant in a container without drainage holes.”
Then another customer came in to buy something and I was saved from them, and they from me, and I left.
I like it better, by the way, when the people I am buying plants or containers for plants from at least act like they know something about plants, don’t you?
I suppose now I will have to resort to looking through my stash of clay pots to find a suitable container for my newly rooted plants. I assure you, all of them have drainage holes.
Some commonly asked questions and answers about containers for indoor plants.
Are drainage holes essential for growing plants in containers? Yes, in my plant world they are. You might keep a plant alive for awhile in a container without drainage holes, but long-term, the soil will probably ‘sour’ or you’ll keep the plant too dry trying to avoid overwatering.
What if I get a planter that has plants and no drainage holes? You can keep the plants in there for awhile, but eventually, you should take the plants out and repot them in containers with drainage holes.
What if I have the cutest/prettiest/goes with my décor container for a plant, but it has no drainage holes? You could find a pot with drainage holes that will fit down inside your fancy container, and then put the plant in that pot. When you water, it is best to remove the plant from the fancy container, take it to a sink, water it thoroughly, and then let it stand for a bit so the excess water all drains out before you put it back in the fancy container. Or, if it won't damage the container, you could drill some drainage holes in the bottom of it.
Do you advocate watering with ice cubes? No. We’ve been through that already.
Any other questions on containers? Any suggestions on what to plant my new orange-flowering Christmas cactus in?