Why You Should Line Your Flower Pots With Burlap Before Planting

Why You Should Line Your Flower Pots With Burlap Before Planting

Planting flowers in pots is a great way to decorate your home and show off your personal style. You can use them to enhance patios, backyards, or even your living room. However, there are some challenges to consider when it comes to watering and drainage. While all plants need water, they don’t like to be too wet, except for aquatic and bog plants. If you create drainage holes in your pots, the soil can come out and damage your plants over time. Cleaning up soil messes can also be frustrating.

To solve this problem, you can line your flower pots with burlap. Burlap is a breathable fabric made mostly of jute, but also available in hemp and flax. It allows extra water to drain out while keeping the soil moist, which is perfect for potted plants. However, avoid using synthetic or treated burlap fabrics because they don’t decompose and can cause roots to circle if you don’t change your pots frequently.

Benefits of lining pots with burlap pre-planting

Person lining basket with burlap


It’s not unusual to find decorative containers that are just right to accentuate your flower’s natural beauty but, unfortunately, lack drainage holes. Double-potting with plastic (with drilled holes) is generally a way out. But a more durable, natural option is to line its length and bottom with burlap. Burlap doubles up as a container. This is especially handy with wooden pots because they’re prone to decay over time due to frequent water exposure. Similarly, metal planters rust on recurrent water contact and can do with an additional layer to retain their visual appeal. Many venture that adding burlap is a brilliant way to add a rustic look to your planter.

Aesthetics aside, burlap’s utility lies in its ability to keep plant roots happy. Standing water causes root rot, a vicious disease that prematurely shortens the flora’s life. The hessian fabric tackles the issue by providing the excess water space to move out while still leaving the plant hydrated. The soil doesn’t spill out, either. Moreover, changing containers becomes a breeze during renovation or repotting, as you can lift the plant out with the burlap. Its economical pricing is another advantage. Depending on the soil and irrigation schedule, natural burlaps decompose within four to six months, removing any pressure over roots when spreading out. This can be troublesome when plugging drainage holes, eventually requiring more base cover.

How to line flower pots with burlap

Cutting burlap with scissor

Bee’s House of Plants/YouTube

Kick off the process by wiping your planter clean. Next, place the burlap in the container and mark the points where it’s just short of touching the rim. If you’re concerned about drainage (acute in decorative pots without holes), add a 1- to 2-inch-wide gravel layer to the bottom and then measure and trim the required fabric length. If your pot is large and your plant can survive in less soil, don’t force the burlap down to the bottom. Instead, keep the material long enough for it to hang from the rim while also being able to support the plant’s weight.

Overhanging burlap also comes in handy if you plan to switch out your plants seasonally. They’re practical if you wish to discard any standing water lying in your planter after an irrigation session as you can remove the plant with the cover and allow it to dry before putting it back. With the measurements in place, remove the burlap and cut out the excessive length using scissors. While hessian is porous enough, you can make additional drainage holes if required. Finally, place the burlap inside the container, add potting mix, and plant the youngling.

✿ Read More About Flowers.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.