Our Marketing Director, Caroline, discovered that when you’re repotting, it’s a good idea to wear protection…
As usual, I hate to see anything go to waste, so when one of our growers, Annie, asked if I’d like to have one of the succulent cacti they were clearing out of our greenhouse, I naturally accepted. Choosing the taller, more positive sounding, Euphorbia, I gingerly nestled it into the back of my car for the ride home. Fearing this desert plant’s unforgiving spines, I placed it on the mantle in my kitchen and affectionately named him “Senor Prickles”. He must not have liked his new moniker, as once I turned my back, he dove crown first to the floor, spilling his contents everywhere. Grabbing the broom and assessing the damage, I had to figure out how to get my needle-covered friend back into an adequate pot that would hold his top heavy weight. Realizing that I had no heavy duty gloves nearby, and my kitchen towels were too thin to blanket the sharp cacti nettles, I reached for my oven mitts and got to work. Between sweeping up the spilled soil and shooing my cats away from trying to eat the pot’s remains, I began to consider the importance of repotting indoor plants.
Repotting your plants not only gives them more room to grow and mature, but it gives them more space to dig in and anchor themselves for better support. As in the case of the “Senor”, repotting provided a much more stable base for his heavy top growth, keeping him from trying to commit suicide by flopping off of his high vantage point. After repotting my newest addition, I began to look around at my other indoor herbs and made plans for making them new homes as well.
Choosing a large, wide pot that I filled with moist potting soil, I transplanted my ‘Alaska Mix’ and ‘Empress of India’ Nasturtiums, and arranged them so that their tendrils would drape over the edges and off of the sunny table I placed them on. For my Calendula, I chose a similar method, but used a smaller pot to help them keep a more erect habit. Originally having been staked, their new environment kept them standing tall and a good pruning made them look much happier! My tiny ‘Grosso’ Lavender, who has been a trooper all winter but was beginning to look a little sad, was my biggest worry. Remembering that Lavenders love very well-drained, dry soil, I lined the bottom of the six inch pot I chose for it with a very dry, brittle mix of soil with bits of debris and small twigs included. Hoping the coarse nature of this soil would help aerate and allow for better drainage, I potted my ‘Grosso’ (also known as ‘Fat Spike’ Lavender) with some richer mix on top. After ten minutes of deadheading and trimming dead foliage away, my indoor garden was looking much stronger and I felt a great satisfaction at my spring progress.
A few tips to remember for when you decide to revamp your indoor plants:
*Good drainage is key! Make sure not to over water, but if you do get aqua overzealous, make sure your pots have good drainage holes and are placed upon plates or saucers to catch excess moisture. But never let them stand in full saucers!
*Proper Pot Size is more important than you think. Repot plants in containers that are one to two inches wider and deeper than their original planter to give them plenty of room to stretch and grow. Potting them in too big a container will allow for excess room for moisture to collect which could water log the roots or promote disease to grow.
*Be careful when removing your plant from its original container. Try to ease it out and relax the root ball some by rolling it around in your hand a little. This will allow the roots to release from their previous shape and stretch and fill the provided extra room.
*Water generously once you get your plant adjusted to its new container. They’re thirsty when first potted and this will also help the roots and soil settle.