How It Works

Fill the pot with water about once a week.*  The natural wicking of terracotta gives seedlings gentle moisture they need to thrive.


Because terracotta is porous, the water seeps from the reservoir through the terracotta walls to keep the soil evenly moist.  Once the seedlings have roots, they can wick as much water as they need.

Each pocket has a drainage hole to allow air circulation and to drain excess water if your pot is left out in the rain, or if you happen to miss the hole when filling the reservoir.

Once seedlings are ready for transplant, they usually pop right out with a gentle pull on the stem.  To make sure they don't stick, it's often helpful to go around the edge of the pocket, like loosening a cake from the pan.

Refill your Orta pot with seed-starting mix, and you're ready to plant again!

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.

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. 

*We say Self-Watering, but you do have to fill them up occasionally! Starting seeds indoors in cool weather, you'll need to refill every 3-4 weeks.  In hot, dry, windy weather outdoors, you may need to refill every couple days.


These are the instructions that are printed on the package, along with some extra tips

Fill each pocket with seed starting mix and 3-5 seeds, or one cutting.

Tip: Use a special purpose seed starting mix like our Dirt Bags for best results.  Seedlings like fluffy, low nutrient mixes.

Tip: Seeds have different requirements for their best growth. Look up whether they prefer heat or cold, light or darkness, and how deep to bury them.
Fill the reservoir with water.
Place in a very sunny spot or under a grow light and refill reservoir when dry,
about once a week.

 Tip: In windy or very warm weather, your pots will dry out much more quickly.  In damp cold weather, you may want to give your pot extra warmth and air circulation.
Once seedlings have sprouted, thin them to one plant per pocket.
When your seedlings have several sets of leaves or the cuttings sprout new growth,
they are ready to be transplanted.

Tip: For some plants this can be as fast as a couple weeks, and for others this can take months.  Another way to tell if your plants need to be transplanted is if their growth slows.  It's best to keep your plants growing without slowing down.
To remove a plant from its pocket, pull very gently on the base of its stem. You may need to go around the edges with a knife (or a plastic plant marker), like loosening a cake from its pan.

Tip: To avoid damaging seedlings with delicate stems, pull gently on a leaf while lifting from below.
If you have any questions about your Orta Seed Pot, please contact us.  We'd love to hear from you!