If you have plants in pots there’s a chance that you may need to re-pot them, well, if they’re perennials you definitely will at some stage. The nutrients found in potting mix generally will only be able to feed your plant for nine months or so. Like caged animals the plants can’t find their own food when confined to a pot.
Other reasons to re-pot is when the plant outgrows its pot – you can see roots coming out of the bottom (root bound) or it just looks out of proportion to the pot it is in.
Or maybe you’ve found a steller pot that your plants will look better in.
When you buy seedlings (like, for example, from me!) and they’re not going to go in the garden, you’ll need to pot them on into a bigger pot.
So, here’s the how to…
Get yourself some good quality potting mix, for example Daltons rather than No. 8, trust me, it’s worth it. Do not use soil from your garden.
Get a clean dry pot (if your pot is wet it makes it difficult to dislodge the plant when you go to re-pot it again). You want a pot that is about double the size of its original pot.
Half fill the empty pot with potting mix.
Put your hand on top of the pot with the plant in between your fingers
Tip it upside down – some soil will come out, don’t worry.
Take the pot away. You’re holding the soil more than the plant, don’t squeeze tender stems.
If it’s quite root bound you may need to squeeze the sides of the pot, give a slap to the bottom and wiggle wiggle (the pot, not your tush, but if it helps….!) If it’s refusing to budge turn it back around and run a long bladed knife around the edges of the pot. Failing that, you might have to break the pot, hope it’s not your fave.
I don’t water my plants prior to re-potting (makes for a mucky job). If you notice after taking the pot off that the roots are incredibly dry and/or the roots are really twisted up in themselves (root bound) soak the root ball in a bucket of water for at least half an hour. You may need to tease the roots free from each other just to give them the message that very soon they will have more room to groove.
Plop the plant in its new pot, it may just sit there or you may have to support it whilst you put potting mix around the edges. You want it so the plant is sitting about a centimeter from the top. So you may have to take the plant out and put more potting mix in if the plant is not high enough or vice versa.
Push that soil in around the plant til it’s nice and firmly in.
And then Bob’s your Uncle! Give it a gentle watering if you feel it needs it, most of the time your potting mix should be moist enough to not need a watering straight away and you don’t want to give your plant anymore undue shock after being pulled from it’s home. This is where talking to your plants can be beneficial to them – tell me I’m not the only one!
The weather is looking to be fine this weekend so go do your potted ones a favour, get your hands dirty!