March 14, 2019
Last week, I was explaining to you about transplanting your houseplants. As I said then, now is a good time to move your plants up to larger-size pots if the plants need to be transplanted.
This week, I give you a bit more information about transplanting your houseplants.
When you are moving a plant up to a larger pot, please keep in mind that you should always use a pot that has a drainage hole or drainage holes.
I fully understand that you may find a beautiful glazed pot that doesn’t have a drainage hole. This type of pot can be used as a decorative pot that you slide another pot with drainage into the pot without drainage. This will allow you to remove the “plain” pot when you water and then drop that pot back into the decorative pot when the water has fully drained out.
I know that many people want to plant directly into the pot without the drainage hole or holes. A quick search of the internet will tell you that you can plant into the pot without drainage.
The truth is, you can plant directly into the pot without drainage. You would put a layer of stone in the bottom of the pot. You would cover that layer of stone with a layer of sheet moss. Next, you would add a layer of horticultural charcoal to filter the water that will accumulate in the bottom of the pot. Next, you would add another layer of sheet moss on top of the charcoal. At this point, you can a place the root ball into the pot and then add the appropriate amount of potting soil.
I know you are wondering why the sheet moss is being used. The sheet moss helps keep the layers of horticultural charcoal and potting soil from settling down to the bottom of the pot. Once you have this potted up, the hard part begins. When you water a plant in this type of pot, the excess water goes to the bottom of the pot and sits there. Over time, the water can be absorbed by the potting soil.
If you follow a regular watering schedule, you will eventually have a pot that is filled with excess water. This excess water will kill the plant roots. You can buy a moisture meter to tell you when you need to water the plant. We sell them in our store, and most garden centers have them.
However, my history with people using pots without drainage shows that people are not careful with the watering of the plants that are in them. Eventually, the excess water keeps the soil wet all the time and the plant roots die. In my opinion, you should never pot directly into a pot without a drain hole or drain holes.
Many people like the look of clay pots when they repot their houseplants. Of course, larger clay pots can be heavy when they are potted up. My feeling is that once you pot up a plant into any larger-size pot, the plant and pot are going to stay in one spot until it’s time to repot the plant again. One issue that I hear about new clay pots is that they dry out too fast. If your pot is drying out too fast, it’s because you made a mistake.
If you think about how a new clay pot is made, clay is formed into a pot and then the pot is put into an oven called a kiln. The heat in the kiln pulls the moisture out of the clay in order to keep the pot rigid. What you need to do is to add a bit of that moisture back into the pot.
What you are going to do with your new clay pot is submerge it in clean water. You can add water to the sink and lay the new pot on its side. If you look closely, you will see a lot of bubbles coming from the submerged part of the pot. This is the water displacing some of the air in the tiny pores of the pot.
Once the bubbling slows down, you can turn the pot a bit and then submerge the dry part of the pot until the bubbling slows. Eventually, all the turning of the pot will result in a clay pot that is damp. Pull the pot out of the water, and let the excess water drain away.
Once you have done this, you will find that the clay pot is a great pot for your houseplant. The reason for all this soaking is that if you planted directly into the clay pot without pre-soaking it, the clay will pull the water from the root ball into the clay pot in order to get the clay moist.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you next week.