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Photo: FoxglovesAndStockings (Shutterstock) As many houseplants and flowers mature, they outgrow the original pots and containers they called home and need to move into something bigger. And while reusing the pot is a great, sustainable option, it’s important to make sure that it’s cleaned thoroughly before moving a new plant in and having it set down roots. Here’s what to know about how—and why—to do that without hurting your plants. Why you should clean flower pots before reusing them Let’s say you had a flower pot that was full of dirt that you emptied along with the plant itself. It may seem pointless to put effort into cleaning the container if you’re going to turn around and all more dirt to it, but that’s not the case. Regardless of whether the pot is made of clay, plastic, or another material, mineral deposits and other debris can accumulate in the pot over time and may harbor disease organisms, according to the Iowa State University Extension (ISUE) . And if you don’t clean and disinfect the pots before you reuse them, they can harm their new occupant. How to clean flower pots and containers The amount of time and effort it takes to clean and disinfect flower pots and containers depends on their material and condition. Here are some guidelines: How to clean unglazed clay pots (including terracotta) One of the reasons why traditional terracotta pots are so popular with gardeners is because they’re porous —meaning that they allow air and […]