Does Sealing The Inside Of Clay Pots Affect The Plants?

A Concerned Crafter Asks What Paint Product Sealants
Are Recommended For Garden Pots

I received an email from Beth asking:

First of all I have to tell you I absolutely love your website. I just found it yesterday and am really enjoying all of your information.

Question … does sealing the inside of clay or terra cotta pots affect the plants at all? I have painted several of them for this summer and had left the inside untouched. Was a little hesitant and just wasn’t quite sure. Thanks! Beth

painted garden pot

My reply:

Hi Beth:
Thank you so much for your kind compliments. I appreciate you taking the time to tell me.

Sealing the inside of pots causes no problems that I am aware of … I seal all my pots on the inside and my plants are thriving. I use Krylon acrylic clear spray paint, BTW. Always am happy with the long-term results.

However, I know a garden-art artist who swears by Thompson’s Water Sealant to seal the inside of her pots. She says it doesn’t harm her plants in the least.

But, to err on the safe side, I wouldn’t use Thompson’s Water Sealant if you’re going to grow something edible in it – not sure if the sealant would leach into the soil, and ultimately the plant.

On a side note: before she begins a decorative painted technique project, she told me she applies a good coat of SprayN’Seal. It’s a pottery sealer and she says the only place she can find the stuff is at Ace Hardware Stores. (It’s a product from Canada – made by Cartanna International Sales Inc.; phone number is 604-943-2727)

The only other thing I’d like to add here about using Thompson’s Water Sealant … maybe it’s great for terra cotta, but it sure STUNK when I used it years ago on my deck! 😡 What a waste of my money; it only lasted one year and did a p##-poor job of sealing my wood deck.

So … even when using on a terra cotta / clay pot … you be the judge as I’ve not personally tried it.

To see all the painted techniques and how-tos on my website that will teach you how to liven up any old plain plastic, resin or terra cotta or clay garden pot, please go to: Decorative Paint Techniques For Garden Planters & Pots.


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  3. Porsche P. says:

    Hi, I really like all the good ideas that you share on your blog. I found this one because I’ve been wondering how to help keep the moisture stay in longer in my potting soil. I live in a pretty dry climate. I’ll try a couple coats of sealer on a few pots and see if it’s helps. Thanks for the tips!

  4. Ann Haskell says:

    I painted some beautiful clay pots and I am wondering if I seal the inside of the pot, will it protect the outside from pealing.

    Please answer ASP. These are gifts

    Ann H

  5. Claudia Brownlie says:

    Hi Ann: “Maybe” sealing only the inside will protect the outside if you have started with a very clean clay pot – NO dirt, etc. Make sure the pot is bone dry before trying to apply sealant. I’d suggest THREE even coats of sealant – either sprayed on (like a Krylon sealer) or painted on are both OK. Let each coat dry THOROUGHLY between coats. Let final coat dry thoroughly before adding in soil. And then all might be just fine for a few years. No matter what you do, the paint will degrade with time, temperatures, moisture, etc.

    If you want to also paint the outside of the pot (you weren’t totally specific with your question) then I would first do all coats on one side, then finish with all coats on the other side. But the outside “might” peel with time – again there are many factors as mentioned above to take into consideration. Hope this is helpful. Good luck!

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