2006-07-19 / Lifestyles

Potting Pointers for Summer Projects

The bulbs are in the ground and your seedlings are sprouting. What's next for "green-thumbers?" Summer repotting season, of course!

Repotting a house plant is a simple chore that can reap big rewards as repotted plants get new opportunity - and room - to grow. As you take on summer repotting projects, keep in mind these potting pointers:

* First, be sure repotting really is necessary. Poor watering practices, overly compacted soil or oxygen starvation can cause roots to grow along the sides of the pot, making the plant appear root bound. Gently break open the root ball. If you find roots inside the root ball, it's time to repot. If the root ball is hollow, remove the soil, return the plant to its original pot and reconsider your watering practices.

*Check with your local garden center to determine what type of soil is best for your plant.

* Pick the right pot. A general rule of thumb is to repot a plant in a new pot that is at least 1 to 2 1/2 inches wider in diameter than the previous pot.

* Be gentle. Tip the pot and cradle the plant stem in one hand. Gently tap on the bottom until the plant slides free. Separate dense and matted roots. Place mesh or stones over the drainage holes, cover the bottom of the pot with about an inch of soil, then slip the plant into the center of the new pot, and surround the root ball and plant with fresh potting soil.

* Replace repotted plants in their original location or outside during summer. Potted house plants can thrive outdoors as long as they are exposed to the appropriate amount of sun or shade and temperatures aren't too high.

Wherever you place your pots - indoors on a carpeted floor or outside on your deck or patio - be sure to protect the floor beneath the pot. Proper drainage is essential for both plant and pot health. Over water your plant and the catch tray will overflow, water will pool unseen beneath the tray, and your floor may be damaged.

Use a plant stand to raise the pot and catch tray off the floor. The stand allows air to circulate under the pot and tray to evaporate excess water and condensation. A product like The Down Under Plant Stand promotes air flow and proper drainage by lifting the pot off the floor on four plastic arms. Trimming off the excess length on each support arm allows you to adjust the stand size to fit virtually any pot.

To learn more about protecting your plants and floors, visit www.theplantstandco.com, or call (800) 834-9317.

Courtesy of ARA Content

Gardening

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