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February 12th, 2024|

Generally, plants in pots tend to require more water than plants in a garden in South Africa, regardless of the specific location within the country.

However, it’s not always a straightforward answer as several factors can influence this.

Here’s why:
Factors supporting more watering for potted plants:

Limited soil volume: Pots restrict the amount of soil available to hold water, meaning it dries out faster than in open ground.
Exposed environment: Pots lack the surrounding soil and vegetation in gardens that help retain moisture and provide shade. Sun and wind directly evaporate water from the pot.
Drainage holes: Most pots have drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, but this also means water readily drains out, unlike ground where it can penetrate deeper.

However, consider these nuances:

Plant type: Some drought-tolerant or indigenous plants might require less water in pots, even compared to water-demanding garden plants.
Pot material: Porous materials like terracotta dry out faster than glazed ceramics or plastic.
Pot size: Larger pots hold more soil and retain moisture better.
Soil type: Well-draining potting mixes dry out quicker than heavier garden soil.
Weather: Hotter, drier seasons naturally increase water needs for both potted and garden plants.

Unfortunately, reliable statistics comparing specific water use for potted vs. garden plants are difficult to find due to the vast range of variables involved.

Here are some references with general water-saving tips for South African gardens and potted plants:

Waterwise Gardeners
Pot Shack
Grounded Landscaping
Life is a Garden

Remember, it’s very important to observe your specific plants and adjust watering according to their needs and your local conditions.

Using a moisture meter, grouping plants by water requirements, and avoiding midday watering can all help conserve water in South Africa, whether you’re gardening in pots or the ground.
Why use pots for you plants?
Pots have a specific purpose of which the main one is that it is the best way to bring a garden into a building.

Pots are also a good solution for limited spaces outside such as at restaurants and offices where space is expensive and where there are not extensive gardens.

It is impractical to create indoor gardens in all living spaces such as complexes, houses and small offices.

Pot plants bring the outdoors inside in a cost-effective and practical way.

The question is not whether pots use more water per volume than gardens. The question is what is the most feasible way to bring plants into homes and limited spaces.


Advice From a Pot Expert (Pot Plants, Silly)

November 4th, 2019|

Being in the garden design industry for almost 21 years, Adri has learnt to identify trends. “Pair that with an adventurous client, and you have a winning combination,” says Adri Neuper, pots and pot plants expert and owner of IN EEDEN design concepts.

For this specific project, she used white pots with one matt black pot […]

Designing Ways is pleased to add Adri Neuper to the Editorial Board

November 4th, 2019|

She adds a green flavour to our regular column On The Terrace.

Since starting The Pot Place in 1998, she had been instrumental in many trends.  She fell in love with pots and this has become her field of expertise.

She introduces herself as a pot expert and that often results in some banter around the latest […]

Well Seated

November 4th, 2019|

Taking in consideration that we sit for the biggest part of our day (and some nights), it may be a given to pay some attention to the quality of being well-seated and the trends behind the science of lounging around on a sofa or comfy chair.

Some of the forces active behind furniture design trends of […]

ON THE TERRACE – Exterior Staging

November 4th, 2019|


A bit dramatic by the sound of it if one is not familiar with the term – staging. Staging is simply the activity or practice of styling / furnishing a property before it is listed for sale (or rental) in such a way as to enhance its attractiveness to potential buyers.

Considering all […]

INDOOR PLANTS – On The Terrace

November 4th, 2019|


Indoor plants are an essential component of almost every beautiful interior. The natural greenery is a definite mood booster that brightens up our indoor spaces and it seems we just can’t get enough of the lush green rainforest plants cascading down bookcases or stretching gracefully towards our ceilings. But we do struggle […]

Romancing the Stone

November 4th, 2019|

Historically, a variety of primary materials are used in African sculpture and although wood was obviously being most prevalent and readily accessible – it was the African stone sculpting movement that gained momentum with art lovers and collectors since the early fifties and sixties, slowly making inroads onto the international art scene ever since.

African stone […]


November 4th, 2019|

It is an undisputed fact that trees benefit human life by contributing to our health and positively affect communities ecologically, socially, economically and physically.

As Johannesburg is one of the most tree-rich cities in the world today, appearing in satellite images similar to a man-made urban forest, the history of this city’s love affair with trees […]

Not just the rain in Spain…

November 4th, 2019|

If you think of “Spain”, various images conjure up in one’s mind such as the elegant Flamenco dancers, the excitement of the bull run, mouthwatering Paella dishes, tempting Ibiza Parties or the fever of the Spanish football fans. However, not many of us are aware of an ancient art that originates from this historic part […]


November 4th, 2019|

As promised, ON THE TERRACE continues to focus on implementing more natural elements into our direct environments, creating a seamless green and complimenting live and work areas as our delightful summer temperatures (and temperamental windy storms) settles in.

Making use of pots, planters and containers where possible, is a smart way of bringing our green companions […]