white powder on pots

Why is the white powdery patina on terracotta pots so desirable?

When you receive one of our beautiful pots, you will notice a dusting of a white and grey powder on the surface which gives it a lovely, aged-looking patina. The look of age gives us comfort and stability, a feeling of belonging to our past.

Why does efflorescence form?

The efflorescence, a word which comes from the Latin for ‘flower’ – is made by mineral salts ‘blooming’ on the surface of the pot.

white powder on pots
white powder on pots

It is a look that has become very sought-after, it appears relatively quickly on handmade, artisan pots such as ours. Machine-made pots have a comparatively dense, closed texture, so tend not to acquire efflorescence. In fact, it has become so desirable as a mark of quality that some machine-made pots now come with artificially-created efflorescence – but that is no substitute for the real thing.

white powder on pots

Efflorescence will also be the result of water and minerals from the soil or fertiliser leaching through the porous terracotta and drying in a crust on the outside of the pot. This happens faster in hard water areas, where there is a lot of lime in the water.

white powder on pots

Traditional techniques that can’t be replicated

As our pots are handmade using traditional techniques, they generally acquire a patina during the manufacturing process. In the past, people would try to clean this off but it has now been recognised as one of the signs of a really good pot and has become very desirable. Efflorescence will not harm plants at all and looks very attractive, so is best left in place. We do not recommend trying to recreate it by brushing pots with yoghurt to artificially ‘age’ them – unfortunately that method is more likely to result in a coating of black mould than the pretty, silvery sheen of the real thing. Take a look through our product gallery to see some examples of efflorescence and how our pots have an authentic, natural patina for a beautiful result. It just needs a little patience.

For more advice on getting the most from your pots, visit our news page or contact us.