En­joy­ing and Car­ing for Plants in Containers

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - HOME & GARDEN SHOW -

Gar­den­ing time will be here be­fore you know it, 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.

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