How to re-pot aquatic plants
Potted aquatic plants become crowded, shabby and root-bound over time, and spring is a good time to lift them out of the water, divide and re-pot them, ready for the growing season. PHIL DUDMAN shows you how
Lift the pot out carefully and place it on a bench where you can comfortably work with it.
Use a sharp knife to cut away roots at the base of the pot. This makes it easier to get the plant out. While still on its side, apply some heavy downward pressure on the pot to help loosen up the mass of roots. Then position your feet firmly and drag out the root ball.
Cut through the root ball to create divisions. Trim roots by one-third, then loosen remaining ones. Trim off dead, diseased and untidy foliage, too. Don’t use potting mix. A loam or clay garden soil is the best medium. Position your division in the pot, then partially backfill, to two-thirds full.
You can buy special slow-release tablets for aquatic plants, or make fertiliser packages using newspaper
and pelletised chicken manure. Both these options provide a slow release of nutrients with minimal algal bloom. Place your tablet or fertiliser package in the pot, then complete the backfill. Water the mix well, as this helps to stop particles escaping when the pot is returned to the water. Reposition the pot, lowering it gently into the water. New growth should appear as the weather warms.
“Trim roots by one-third,
then loosen remaining ones”