How do Orta Seed Pots work?

We have a whole page dedicated to answering that question, here.

No, I mean, how well do they work?

We think they work great, but don't just take our word for it.  After our customers get started with one of our pots, many of them come back for LOTS more, like Cynthia from Santa Rosa.  She says, 

“I just ordered my fifth self-watering seed starter. They have really performed beautifully and all my seeds have sprouted easily in them. The self watering feature works like a charm and helps germinate the seeds on a consistent basis”

You can read more reviews on the product page (scroll to the bottom)

How do you get the seedlings out?

Usually they pop out with a gentle tug on the stem.  But if they stick at all, it's easy to loosen them by running a plastic plant marker or knife around the edge like loosening a cake from the pan.

What can I plant in Orta Pots?

You can start any type of seed or cutting / clone in your Orta Pot.  Experiment with different seeds and plants, and different seed-starting media to see what works best for you and your garden.

How long can I leave plants in Orta Pots?

The rule of thumb is to transplant seedlings once they have two sets of true leaves.  How long it takes to get there totally depends on what kind of plant you're growing.  From sowing seed to transplant, tomatoes take about 6-8 weeks, basil takes 2 months, arugula takes 3 weeks.  

Advanced gardeners appreciate Orta's self-watering feature for germinating tricky, slow seeds that can take months to germinate.  They tell us that our pots are the only way they can start plants like echinacea and alpine strawberries that would otherwise take daily care for months.

Many succulents grow slowly, and can stay in Orta pots for months or even years.  A fun, low maintenance project is to take succulent cuttings and root them in your Orta pots.  They look good right away, and can stay looking good while they grow new roots.

Does water come out the drainage holes?

Not much.  The water is completely contained in the reservoir, and can only escape by passing through the terracotta walls of the plant pockets.  Depending on the weather and your seed-starting mix's absorbency, small amounts of water can seep through the mix and /or condense on the outside of the pot, causing damp "footprints."  But no, water should never come out in any quantity.

There is a LOT of water pooling under my pot.  Help!

Your pot is likely broken.  Please contact us right away and we can help you determine the cause.  There is no charge to replace pots that have been broken in transit.

I just opened the box and the pot is clearly broken.  Help!

Please contact us right away.  We will need photos of your broken pot, ideally still in its packaging in the shipping box.  If you've already got it opened, please take pictures of all the elements of the package:  box, broken pot, packaging.  We will submit a claim to the shipper on your behalf, and either refund or replace your purchase.

Speaking of shipping, I noticed you don't use bubble wrap?  Why not?

We have a 100% plastic-free guarantee because we believe it's the right thing to do.  And that includes our shipping padding too. Our cardboard / kraft paper combo was designed by a mechanical engineer to give the most strength at the lowest weight.

Do you accept returns?

Yes. Please see our return policy here.

Can I sterilize Orta Pots?

Yes.  Occasionally it's a good idea to sterilize your pot to prevent diseases and fungi.  The easiest method is to scrub all the dirt off your pot with water and a brush.  Then put your pot in the oven for an hour at about 180 degrees F (82 C), being careful not to go over boiling temperature (212 F, 100 C), as this can cause trapped water to turn to steam and crack open your pot.  The "warm" setting on most ovens works well. It's a good idea to use an oven thermometer to make sure the temperature is right.

We do not recommend bleach or any other chemicals to clean your pots. 

Why is there mold growing on the soil in my Orta pot?

The mold is likely from the pots being a bit chilly without good air circulation, and /or without enough light.  It's a problem we rarely see in the summer, but is fairly common when the pots stay cool and darker.  The solution is to start over, give your pots a rinse or light scrub with plain warm water (no detergents or soaps), and begin again in a warmer spot with brighter light and good air circulation.  If the problem persists, or if you want to be extra cautious, follow the steps above to sterilize your pot.

I have a question that's not on this list.

Please contact us, we'd love to help!