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Gardener urges others to follow crucial steps to prevent plant disease outbreaks: 'Pests and pathogens can accumulate over time'

"I never thought to do this."

"I never thought to do this."

Photo Credit: TikTok

If your repotted plants are mysteriously getting sick, their pot may be the problem.

The scoop

On TikTok, TheFrenchieGardener (@thefrenchiegardener) demonstrated how to properly wash different plant pots to prevent diseases from spreading after repotting.

@thefrenchiegardener Empty pots in your garden? 🪴 One advice, wash them and here is how 💚 Don't let fungi, pathogens & potential diseases be transmitted to new plants 🙌🏼 #gardening #fyfyfyfyfy #containergarden #growyourownfood #howto ♬ Belonging - Muted

"Do you have empty pots in your garden?" he asks. "Be sure to clean them before planting anything else, because pests and pathogens can accumulate over time and transmit diseases to new plants."

To clean terracotta pots, use a mixture of white vinegar and water. Scrub gently, and rinse with water. For plastic pots and seedling trays, use an organic dish soap and scrub well. The plastic pots also get a bath with boiling water. For geotextile bags, simply give them a rinse and use your washing machine.

How it's helping 

Plant diseases — which can be caused by things like fungi, bacteria, and pests — can 

remain in the pot or soil after the infected plant has been removed. If the pot is not properly washed before potting a new plant, disease residue can infect the new plant. 

In an Oklahoma State University report, specialist Casey Hentges stressed the importance of washing plant pots and containers, saying, "residue [from previous plants] can harbor different bacteria and fungus that can cause potential problems for new plants."

Simply washing the pot, which only takes a couple of minutes, will reduce the risk of infection and save you the hassle of dealing with a sick plant, as well as the time and money needed to treat it.

Even when dealing with a sick plant or two, gardening isn't all a hassle. Gardening has many positives, such as stress relief, improved mood, and a plethora of physical benefits.

Whether you're a first-time gardener or an experienced enthusiast, there are many tips and tricks that will help you save time and money. The Cool Down can help — check out our guide to growing your own food.

What everyone's saying

Commenters found the advice helpful, as many didn't realize that washing your pot can help keep your plant healthy. 

"Sounds simple but I never thought to do this," commented one TikToker. "[I] will be cleaning mine now before planting."

"This is such a good point," said another. 

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