I don't know of any effect of light on roots, but I also haven't come
across any source for transparent pots. If you want to gauge root growth
in anything up to about a 6" pot, you can just grab the plant, turn the
plant and pot upside down and give the bottom of the pot a slap. This
will loosen the root ball and you can just slide the pot off and look at
the roots. If you suspect your plant might not fill the pot, do this
with the plant and pot on its side instead of upside down. This will
help to reduce spillage of the growing medium. You can do it with pots
over 6" also, but they're harder to handle.
If you're worried about a plant becoming pot-bound, it won't hurt it to
put it into a larger pot. If the roots didn't fill the pot,
transplanting won't hurt it as long as you don't break up the roots too
much (some plants are more sensitive to this than others). Transplanting
the plant to a larger pot will supply new growing medium and probably a
new fertilizer charge (generally built into commercial growing medium).
I have a healthy 1 year old aloe vera in a clear 1 gallon apple juice
container. It still has the label in a band around the center, so I
guess it's not entirely clear. But the bottom is clear and you can see
thick roots, much like the ones one the aloe that I just chucked as a
lost cause (RIP) because I left it in the cold too long.
I also had some other plants in clear juice containers previously and
they seemed to do okay. However, they were not really fun to look at.
I don't think it's the light that's a problem with exposed roots so much
as it is the exposure to air ... otherwise it wouldn't be viable to grow
I've used transparent pots for many years with no discernable difference in
growth. All my transparent pots are used in low-medium light conditions. I
suspect in full sun some greenhouse effect would occur in a transparent pot,
the heat would probably adversly affect the roots.
Transparent pots are quite commonly used for epiphytic orchids whose roots
Bruce W.1 wrote:
One thing that would likely happen, algae would grow on the inside
surface of the clear pot, like it does on aquariums, and may invade
the soil itself, and the root surfaces maybe. Seen algae growing on
the water roots of plants growing in jars of water.
Don't know if any of that would be harmful in the case of soil roots.
The apple juice bottle that my aloe is in doesn't have any visible algae,
but it's been inside away from direct light all winter (and has the label
around the center). Also, there are drain holes in the bottom and it's
either in Miracle gro potting soil or Scotts Pro mix, so there's no
problem with excess water collecting.
I don't remember if my previous bottle plants (which were left outside
facing south) had algae or not (may be that's why I don't have them any
Been thinking about the greenhouse effect possibility someone else
mentioned ... might be a possibility with a real glass jar and sealed
bottom, but with plastic (not as much trapping effect?) and holes in the
bottom as avenues for heat exchange, it shouldn't be as bad. Anybody
know how PETE compares to glass with regards to the 'greenhouse' effect?
Still, I can't imagine why you'd want a house plant in a clear container.
It'd be like looking at a column of soil with funny hat.
Sounds like a great learning experience. To prevent algae, cover the
sides of the pot with foil. Slide the foil off for a peek. I'd love
to do this some day with my kids when they're old enough to be
interested. I rooted many cuttings in water and haven't come across
any with roots that fear sunlight. What plants are you growing?
I'm growing some, I guess they'd be considered ivy? I really couldn't
tell you their names. Once upon a time I bought them at the grocery
store. Now I am cloning them.
Actually I have done this or rather a variation of it. You can grow
carrots and watch the roots develop in specially built containers.
Light is not the cause of the problem, heat is. There would be a
'greenhouse effect' in your transparent pots if they get too much sun.
A solution is to use a transparent pot inside a dark coloured pot, or
wrap the pot with something (try burlap). Algae will not cause a
problem if there is enough drainage and you don't overwater. I would
suggest using a mix containing some horticultural sand so it drains
quicker. Ivy would be fine in a mix like this.
Have fun! and Good Luck!
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