February 4, 2015
Well, it looks like we got all the snow that they promised us last week. This week we get a storm on Monday again. Too early to tell, as I write this, exactly how much snow we will get from this storm. By the time you read this, you will know for sure how much snow we have received this time around. Funny thing is, with the lack of snow we had earlier in the winter, almost everyone thought it was going to be a no snow winter.
Many of you have been tending to your houseplants in the past few weeks. People have been buying new pots and lots of potting soil for moving those houseplants up to a larger size pot. If you are transplanting your houseplants into bigger pots, there are a few things to keep in mind when you are doing the transplanting.
Whenever you are moving your houseplants to a bigger pot, bigger isn’t better. If your plant is in a 4-inch pot, you want to move it into a 5-inch pot. If your plant is in a 6-inch pot, you can move it into a 7-inch or an 8-inch pot. You don’t want to move a plant from a 4-inch pot into a 10-inch pot. If you do this, the plant will have a hard time getting its root system established into the larger pot. When you transplant a plant, the plant slowly puts out additional roots into the new soil. Plant roots need water and air if the roots are to grow properly. If you move a plant from a 4-inch pot to a 10-inch pot, all that extra soil around the root ball stays wet all the time because there are few roots in that soil to absorb water. By that soil staying wet all the time, the root ball of your plant stays wet all the time. The water that is in the larger pot saturates the soil in the root ball. Eventually the air in the soil is forced out by water and the roots die from lack of air in the soil. Always use a pot that is only an inch or two larger than the existing pot. This allows the plant to put out new roots with a minimal amount of damage.
Another mistake people make is that they want to remove most of the old soil that makes up the root ball of the plant. In that root ball are the tiny roots that take up the water and food that is in the soil. If you gently loosen the soil that makes up the root ball before you re-plant, it is not a big deal. However if you remove most of the soil that makes up the root ball, you will be removing most of the roots that allows your plant to live. Easy does it with messing with the root ball when you transplant.
Potting soil is potting soil. Right? Well not always and particularly when it comes to potting up houseplants. Many of the potting soils that you use for your outdoor plants have timed release fertilizer added to the soil. The outdoor soil usually has something added to retain lots of moisture, allowing your outdoor plants to survive the heat and wind of summer. Your houseplants do need water and fertilizer. At this time of the year, the houseplants generally need less water and fertilizer to remain happy plants. If you use a potting soil that holds extra water and that soil has timed release fertilizer that releases fertilizer in large amounts, you could wind up damaging your plants at this time of the year. You are much better off using a potting soil that has no added fertilizer and does not have an additive designed to hold lots of water. With houseplants, each variety of plant has its own need for water and fertilizer. Buy a potting soil with out all the extra additives and your houseplants will lead a happy life. You can then fertilize the plants and water the plants based on the needs of your particular plants.
Well, that should give you the basics on how to properly re-pot your houseplants. As always, if you need some extra help, stop by the store for our expert advice.
I’ll talk to you again next week.