Plants do a great job of adding life to your home, giving your interiors shape and colour. The beauty of plants is frequently underutilised, as most of us still house them in the red cement pots commonly found at garden shops. But with a little effort, one is spoiled for choice, making a selection from a wide variety of colors and shapes. You can be sure to find a style that suits your taste and that is easy to use.
Most of these cement pots have drainage holes on the bottom, which is an advantage, as most plants will drown if their roots are constantly submerged in water.
However, if you have, or are planning to have, a large number of plants, you may prefer a wider variety of pots in your garden. With the help of a little paint, you can have your pots blend in with your tile or wall color, or you could splash them with the allure of bold, eye-catching primaries. You could even enlist the help of kids, with novel ideas of their own.
If you are starting off with a new pot. the process is much simpler. Since terracotta and cement pots are both porous, you can waterproof the interior of the pot to keep water from wicking out and loosening up your paint job.
Polyurethane is often recommended, but most sealants aren’t made to withstand constant moisture and inevitably fail. In addition, polyurethane and marine grade sealants contain unwelcome ingredients, so be sure not to use them if you’re planning on using the pot for growing peppers or herbs.
A fantastic waterproofing product is Protectosil, which comes as a concentrate and is thinned with water at a ratio of 12-to-1. Brush this on the interior of the pot and it will keep the water from wrecking your work. It is environmentally friendly and will not affect your plants. You can get Protectosil at Botica, 249 Mao Tse-Toung Boulevard.
If you are coating the inside with a waterproofing agent, allow it to dry for one day. Then wash down the outside of it with soap and water using a green scouring pad. Rinse and let dry – a couple hours should suffice.
Find a durable work area of a comfortable height and cover with some newspaper. Collect four water bottle caps to set the pot on: This will keep the paint from sticking the paper to the pot and gives you more room to get a good stroke of paint along the bottom.
At this point, you could decide how durable you want your art to be. Enamel paints will last for a long time on their own, but for the ultimate finish you want to prime the pot with an exterior primer. Modern water-based primers are very good, so you don’t need to get an oil-based primer.
One light coat is all you need. The function of primer is to provide the ‘grab’ for paint – it’s not intended for coverage. When you see a house with walls or ceilings of peeling paint after two years it’s obvious someone skipped the primer. Let the primer dry for a day.
Which paint should one use? Enamel paints are very durable but more expensive than latex paint. There are many paint stores in Phnom Penh that can mix up any combination of colours you want in a great latex paint at a minimum of a litre. You may also use any extra paint around the house for added fun.
Enamel paints are easy to find at your local hardware store and available in a few colours. To get all seven colours of the rainbow, you simply need to mix up your own colours. Cut off the bottom of a water bottle and dry it out. Try not to mix more than two colors unless you’re making brown. To deepen green into forest green, add some black. To make yellow into butter yellow, add some white.
Now let your imagination run wild for the greenery and pottery that make for a beautifully furnished garden.
If you have any questions about keeping your house in order or repairing the damage of daily life, email Jet at [email protected]