In the past two years, 14 Loudoun County fires were caused by cigarettes, and fire marshal blames that, in part, to people using potted plants as ash trays.
The soil mix in potted plants includes forest compost and moss, which can be combustible agents.
The 14 fires totaled $3.5 million in damages. The largest was in November when an apartment complex lost 13 units, displacing 26 people.
Experts advise smokers to avoid potted plants and use metal buckets of sand to extinguish cigarettes instead.