The first distinction we need to make is between pots with holes and pots without holes. The significance of a pot having a hole is that the hole could cause its halachic status to be similar to that of plants directly planted in the ground. A pot without a hole (or an extremely small hole), on the other hand, is considered disconnected from the ground.
How big must the hole be? Our sources tell us that any hole big enough for a small root to come through is considered a hole, and practically we consider that to be any hole with the diameter of one millimeter. Most holes meant to drain the water from pots are bigger than this, and so most plants today are considered connected to the ground from this perspective.
However, from a different perspective these pots may be considered as if they are disconnected from the ground, and this is in two cases: (1) They are on a table or a plate or something which separates them from the ground. (2) They are in a tiled house, or on a second floor, where there is no direct connection with the ground.
However, such a plant is still rabbinically-obligated in the laws of shemita. Still, there is a discussion regarding a tree planted within a house, and according to some authorities such a tree is exempt from the laws of shemita. So, taking into account both leniencies – that of a tree within a house, and that of a plant disconnected from the ground – a potted plant within your house is not obligated by the laws of shemita, and can be handled as it is all year round.
These Shemita posts were written by Rav Yoni Rosensweig and Benjy Singer for the My Shteiblech Project. My Shteiblech is a PORTAL of the most accurate information and details of shiurim, cultural and social programmes going on throughout Israel, with a focus on Jerusalem.
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