How to Repair Terra-Cotta Pots

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Terra cotta is a popular pot choice for many plant owners for its quick-drying composition. This earthenware creates an environment that protects your plant from becoming water logged and gives grace to gardeners who tend to overwater. The thick walls of a terra cotta pot also regulate the root temperature of your plants, staving off shock from sudden temperature changes. Terra cotta has a downside, though. It tends to crack and break when moisture freezes in the air or if it's knocked over. Fortunately, you can easily repair a terra cotta pot and keep growing plants in its welcoming environment.

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Repair Terra Cotta Pot with Mortar

When terra cotta pots are wind blown and shatter into multiple pieces, they'll need a strong bonding material to be made whole again. Mortar offers the durable bond needed to make sure your terra cotta plants can effectively house your plants without unwanted leaks.

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  1. Remove any dirt and debris by scrubbing with a wire brush and rinsing your pot with water. Allow the pot to fully dry.
  2. Place old newspapers beneath your pot to protect your flooring or work surface from spills, and wear gloves during this process.
  3. Lightly spray water on the broken edges of the pot.
  4. Use mortar patch and repair, such as premixed mastic. Using a trowel, apply the mortar patch along the entirety of the jagged edge. Over apply the mortar so that the product overflows out of the cracks when the pot is pieced together. (Don't worry about the messy appearance just yet, it will be polished up.)
  5. Fit the pieces tightly together to ensure there are no air pockets. Hold the pot together with a string or duct tape.
  6. Allow the pot to cure, or dry, overnight.
  7. Using a wire brush or trowel, brush and scrape away excess mortar.
  8. Most mortar patch kits don't dry in terra cotta color. For uniform coloring, finish the project with a terra cotta stain.

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Repair Minor Cracks with Sealer

Terra cotta pots have the natural advantage of being porous, meaning the soil can dry out and prevent root rot problems in your plants. However, the porosity also invites moisture into the pot structure. In the winter, this moisture can freeze and cause cracks. You can use a sealant all over to weather-proof terra cotta. Or, you can fix minor cracks quickly with a spray sealant.

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  1. Using your wire brush, clear the surface area around the crack of all dirt and debris. Allow the pot to completely dry.
  2. Spray a sealant from 8 to 10 inches from the crack, moving the can back and forth for even coverage.
  3. Leave the pot to cure in a dry, climate-controlled place for 24 hours.
  4. Apply additional coats for extra fortification, making sure to let your pot cure completely between each coat.
  5. Many spray sealants will dry clear. But if your sealant causes any discoloration, feel free to stain the terra cotta pot for a polished finish.

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