Plastic Liners – If you like the look of terracotta pots but hate how quickly they dry out, line them with a plastic pot before planting. The plastic pot will help retain moisture in the soil but you’ll still enjoy the rustic look of terracotta.
Terracotta Flues – When looking for terracotta, don’t confine yourself to the garden section. This material is used to make clay flue tiles, drainage pipe, and even roof tiles. The flue tiles (which look like large, somewhat square pipes) can stand on end and be filled with potting soil and planted with mint or other aggressive herbs. This will not only give a change in elevation to your garden but it will help contain the invasive mint.
Mini-Windbreak – A broken pot can be used as a mini-windbreak. Just jam the bottom of the broken piece into the ground so that it is curving around a small plant. This can be helpful in spring when you have tender seedlings to put out to face the world.
Toad House – If you have a terracotta pot that is mostly intact but just missing a section of the upper rim, paint it and turn it upside down to make a toad house. Use a magic marker to label it and tuck it in amongst your plants.
Miniature Terraced Landscape – If you have a broken pot with a large section missing, use the broken pieces and some potting soil to create a terraced miniature landscape for succulents.
Drainage Protector – Save small fragments of terracotta pots. They can be used to cover drainage holes, preventing soil from escaping but allowing water to seep out.
Plant Markers – Large fragments of terracotta pots can be used as informal plant markers. Use a black felt marker to label the outer curved surface.
Spilled Pot – Lay a large broken terracotta pot on its side with the underside partly buried. Plant a cluster of small flowering plants as if they have spilled out from the overturned pot.
Cleaning Terracotta – All garden pots slowly develop a salty crust around the rim. To eliminate this, soak your pot in household vinegar and water (one cup of vinegar for every two cups of water) for 20-30 minutes and then scrub with a stiff brush or fine steel wool.
Painting Terracotta – You can easily transform a simple terracotta pot into a fun work of art by using craft paints and a sponge. First paint the entire outer surface plus the top inch or two inside with a base color. Then using a sponge, apply a contrasting color in dabs here and there. You can also use the tip of a pencil eraser to create polka dots all over the pot surface.