PICKENS COUNTY — Gardening time is here, with people enjoying plants both inside and outside of their homes. Container gardening, which is a planting method in which flowers and other plants are grown in pots and other containers, is quite popular because of design versatility. Containers can be moved from location to location if plants are not thriving in a particular spot. They also make gardening possible when there isn’t any available land space, which might be the case for apartment-dwellers.
Flower pots enable plant enthusiasts to enjoy foliage inside of the home as well. Houseplants can add beauty to interior spaces and help filter indoor air. In the late 1980s, NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America actually studied houseplants as a way to purify the air in space facilities. They found several plants are particularly good at filtering out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Having plants around can create inviting spaces and improve healthy conditions inside and out.
Part of caring for plants in containers involves knowing when a potted plant might need a little tender loving care. As plants grow larger, they may outgrow their containers and require more roomy quarters. Without ample space, plants may not be able to adequately draw up water and nutrients to support top growth. Repotting may seem like it is easy, but it actually takes a little finesse so not to damage the plants.
Gardening experts like those from Fine Gardening, HGTV and Today’s Homeowner suggest these repotting tips:
Be sure the plant is well watered for a few days prior to the repotting process. Watering also will help loosen the root ball from inside of the smaller pot.
A plant ready for repotting should slide out with most of the soil in one piece. If the soil is free-falling, it may not need to be repotted at this point because there’s still room for the roots to expand. Other signs that plants may need repotting include roots poking out of the soil or plants that are straggly and pale.
Consider repotting outside because the process can be messy. Have all of your materials, which include a trowel, gloves, scissors, and potting soil, handy so that you can tackle the process smoothly.
Remove your plant from the pot carefully. Place the plant on its side, then support the main stem in one hand and use the other hand to gently pull the pot away. Be careful not to pull on the main stem or break the stem. Tread gently.
Cut away any rotten or dead roots, and trim really long ends. Make three or four vertical cuts about a third of the way up the remaining root ball. This also will help with water and nutrient absorption once the plant is in its new pot.
Gently untangle any remaining roots and prepare to place the plant in a new pot.
Choose a new pot that is slightly larger than the root ball. Fill the pot with soil so that the root ball sits about an inch below the rim of the pot. Add more soil around the roots to fill the pot. Be sure to leave enough room so that with each watering the pot can hold water.
Thoroughly water the plant after repotting to moisten the soil.
Watch your plant afterwards to be sure that it’s taking to its new potted home. It can take around three to four weeks for the plant to recover from repotting. Water regularly, avoid fertilizing and keep the plant out of direct sunlight.