Cache pots are giving me a hard time

Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)May 17, 2014

As I've wished for, I got some beautiful pottery cache pots (no hole) over the holidays and I've really been struggling. When I find a pot small enough to fit in there, it's a bugger to get back out. If I grab the rim of the inner pot, it turns sideways and gets stuck. People using cache pots for a while, talk to me please. How do you deal with this? Do I need to keep 2 pliers handy? It keeps raining, so I've turned the cache pots upside down next to plants for now, this isn't what I had in mind. Thanks!

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Folks in the know have a ceramic bit and, with care, are able to drill drainholes.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 5:56PM
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I guess all of my cache pots are a smudge too small, so the rim of the inner pot sits above the rim of the cache pot, or mine have been a smudge too big and the inner pot sits inside and is easily removable. Sorry you're having such luck with them.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 8:24PM
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I put my hand over the top of the plastic pot inside the cache pot then spread my fingers to fit inside the edges of plastic pot. Then while keeping the pressure lift out slowly then grab an edge. If a large pot I'll use both hands using fingers against the inside. Makes sense in my head I only hope my explanation makes sense to you.
I put pots of TC, EC, and CC inside the cache pots. Makes pretty times two.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 11:13PM
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Raise the inner pot up a bit
Put something/anything in the bottom of the cache pot to hold the plant up where you can get a grip on the plant pot.

If you don't want the inner pot sticking up that high then line the inside rim of the cache pot with weather stripping or any strip/stick type material. That would stop the inner pot from twisting and sticking

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 11:25PM
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I use a smaller saucer turned up side down to lift the plant pot just a tad so I can grab it with my fingers, you could also use broken pieces of your clay pots. Let us know what works for you.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 9:27AM
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Cache pots are indeed a problem when outdoors and exposed to rain, or when water is left at the bottom for one reason or another. The problem is, it seems that the best looking pots are always cache pots, with no drain holes. My solution is as stated above....drill drain holes in them. I then use them as regular pots. The plant pot being too low in the cache pot is easily solvable with the great advice above, but rain in the cache pot will always be a problem so long as your plant(s) are exposed to it.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 10:38AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If your problem is "no hole in the cache pot", and your pot is a quality ceramic pot, your salvation is a diamond core drill that looks like this one (copy/paste to browser so I don't get in trouble for leaving a promotional link)

You can buy them (obviously) at Lowe's and other big box hdwe stores - maybe even Ace Hdwe. If your pot is terra cotta with a thin ceramic coating, a 'spearpoint' drill like these

is the way to go.

If you're happy with the cache pots w/o the holes, and you either can't get your fingers around the smaller pot or the small pot binds in the cache pot, you can take 2 pieces of wire, bending one end so it hooks into the drain hole of the small pot. Mold the wire to the pot and bend the other end over the top half of the pot so it's secure. Now you have a wire hooked in the drain hole & secured to the pot by bending it over the top rim. Repeat with a second wire @ 180* opposite the first. Now, you can use the wire for handles, or use a loop of string to slip under the top 'hooks' of wire to use as a handle. When you're done with the string, stow it somewhere you'll remember.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 11:52AM
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dellis326 (Danny)

You can get carbide spade bits for tile at Lowes, Home Depot or what ever home center is in your area. Easier to use than core bits for small holes. They will look like this photo and won't cost as much. Although a properly use diamond core bit will make a nicer hole if you need to put it somewhere you will be looking at.

If you prefer not to have holes in them then place a few marbles in the bottom and they will lift the pot up enough to be easy to grab on to.

Or place a piece of thin nylon strap under the pots with the ends hanging over the edges and grab the strap to pull up the pot.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 12:16PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Both core drills and spade/ 3-point/ spearpoint drills require the same effort to use. You insert the bit into a drill motor or drillpress & drill the material while keeping it cool. Water works ok as a coolant, but a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze (delivered from a contact lens solution squirt bottle) is much better and will extend the life of the tool considerably. The core drill is better for glass and highly vitrified materials, even thought the spade drill will work ok when it's fairly new. I use spearpoint drills to drill terra cotta or terra cotta with a skim coat of ceramic. For hard materials, I use the diamond core drill.

When drilling, you can turn the pot upside down in a tub or bucket and fill until the surface you're drilling is barely covered by water. That saves you from having to use the squirt bottle as a coolant, but isn't as practical if you want to use the water/ antifreeze mix.

Owning a glass company for almost 40 years has provided the need and opportunity to drill holes in many different types of material harder than wood, many types of glass, ceramic, granite and other types of stone among them. It's something we do every day. BTW - in hard materials, spearpoint drills tend to 'chatter' and produce out of round holes. The out of roundness isn't a problem in itself, but the chatter can be significant enough that it will cause some materials to break from the stress.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 12:45PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I use a few things for cache pots & then experiment w/ putting something else (if, when needed) inside to hold the plant's pot up off the bottom of the cache pot so I can water freely.

Sometimes I invert small clay pots as a pedestal inside the cache pot, sometimes using a small plastic condiment container or 2.

I use lots of package tape at work, they have plastic rings at their core, I use the plastic rings at bottom of cache pot & place the pot on top of that. Makes it easier to move plant's pot in out & keeps it off the bottom.

Depending on the height of your pots, you might try cutting some lengths of the core of toilet paper rolls or the tubes from paper towels (serrated knife can cut the cardboard).

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 4:03PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

To add to what Al has said about drilling your pots. If the pot is too big to submerge in water you can build a dam to hold the liquid of choice with clay or window putty. Just squeeze it into a donut shape and inch or two wide and 3/4" or so inches deep and stick it on where you want to drill. Then put your water in the space in the center of the clay.

This should work ok but it isn't as good of a method as what Al has described.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 5:48PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Thanks for all of the awesome replies and great suggestions!! Much appreciated, and very impressive range of cool ideas.

I'm going to try some of the non-drill solutions first to see if the cache pots and I can get along without drilling. The shape of these particular pots makes me not want to put plants in directly because it seems like they wouldn't slide out easily later. No doubt, this does require one to keep an eye on the weather and take the inner pots out of the cache pots when rain is coming and plants aren't under a roof/cover.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 9:08AM
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paul_(z5 MI)

A number of good non-drilling solutions here.

Al's wire suggestion was the first to come to mind for me though I have never used it.

I have used Karen's ( Enterotoxigenic00) method many a time.

Cache pots most definitely have their place when you want something more attractive without worrying about having a saucer or a pot dripping all over the place.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 4:29PM
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