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Thread: Pros and cons of using transparent pots?

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    Agent of Chaos Wolfn's Avatar
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    Pros and cons of using transparent pots?

    Greetings. I'm currently working on a small terrarium with a few plants (Cephalotus, Drosera, and a Mexican Pinguicula). However, I've been having difficulty finding the exact pots I need. I need something somewhat tall for the long root system of the Cephalotus, but I can't find the exact pots I need. However, I purchased some clear drinking cups at Walmart which are the exact size I need. The only problem is that they are transparent unlike a traditional growing container.

    Are there any cons to this? (ex: light affecting root systems, etc?)
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    w03's Avatar
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    Transparent cups tend to heat up the media more since light can pass through them.

    If you have Drosera with thick roots sometimes they'll grow plantlets on the sides too.
    I like to use them for Utricularia and Genlisea but not so much for other things. Honestly, there isn't a massive difference unless you're keeping them outside. Then always use opaque.
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    Cthulhu138's Avatar
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    The biggest issue I've found with using clear pots is the growth of algae and mosses in the media up against the sides of the pots.

    I think these are the pots you're looking for:
    https://www.stuewe.com/products/anderson.php

    I use the band pots for my ZA, SA and Tuberous Drosera as well as smaller Nepenthes and Heliamphora. They're also perfect for Cephalotus and other long rooted species. The bottom of the pots have 4 large openings that don't hold typical fine media very well but this is easily remedied by stuffing the bottom with lfs or a small piece of Weed Stop.

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    carnivorous plants of the world -- unite! DragonsEye's Avatar
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    You can also find band pots here: Home INDEX Might be cheaper than the site Johnny mentioned.

    Don't know that moss or algae growth along the sides of the pot is necessarily a big issue. But definitely likely, with some plants, to get plantlets trying to grow down along the sides of a clear pot.

    With orchids, clear pots can make it easy to observe the condition of the roots and, to some extent, the moisture of the media.

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    Also many orchid roots photosynthesize

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    NECPS Editor Radagast's Avatar
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    I'd like to 'second' what another poster said about the algae. The clear pots can sometimes (depending on the media) make it look unsightly. Also as another poster mentioned - some plants readily form babies from their roots when exposed to light; thus wasting nutrients that could be used for the 'mother plant.' If you've already purchased the clear cups and you intend to use them, then I'd probably try to cover them in some way. Either put the clear cups inside of another opaque cup, wrap them with something, etc. OR you can just use them, roll the dice, and see what happens haha. You could probably even go to Starbucks and take a few of those cardboard things that protect your hands from the heat of the coffee, slide it around the cup, and use that to block some of the light from reaching the roots. Best of luck!

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    War. War never changes. Est's Avatar
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    Yup, as mentioned by several others, buildup of algae/moss is a major disadvantage. Beyond that, the cups themselves are pretty unsightly and susceptible to degradation by UV.

    That being said, having incubated a lot of soils in specimen cups, you can see some pretty cool stuff going on like iron oxidizing/reducing which can give you some ideas of your soil conditions.
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    A pro that no one mentioned is that these cheap plastic cups can be cut open for repotting. It also reduces root disturbance when repotting. Alas, I find opaque pots best since clear pots tend to have their media break down faster due to the sun (

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