Repotting plants

Plants grown in containers both indoors and outdoors need to be repotted from time to time. Repotting is necessary if the roots of the plant are becoming too large for the pot. Repotting is usually required if you notice that your plant lacks its usual vigour or if the roots of the plant are beginning to show through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Repotting is best done in spring as this is one of the quieter periods in the gardening year and if a plant is repotted now it should be well established in its new home when the start of the growing season comes around again.
   These days there is a huge range of pots on the market. When selecting a new pot it is important to choose one that is the right size. You should aim for a pot that is large enough to give your plants root system room to grow and develop but not too large that the compost will become stagnant before the roots are able to fill it completely. If youÂ’re dealing with an outdoor plant it is important to choose a pot that is heavy enough to support top-heavy growth and one that is fully frost proof. When selecting a new pot it is also important that it has large drainage holes. These holes if kept open by a layer of gravel or old broken pots will stop the roots suffering through the pot becoming waterlogged.
   When removing a plant from its pot, tilt the container to the side, gently easing the plant out. Examine the roots carefully for any signs of pests or disease infection and gently tease some of them out if they have become congested, this is also a good opportunity to prune back the non-fibrous roots lightly which should stimulate new growth. Line the bottom of the new pot with broken crocks for drainage and cover with a layer of compost. Place the plant in the middle of the new container, leaving about an inch between the soil surface and the rim of the pot for watering. Gently feed in fresh compost around the roots of the plant and firm this down with your finger shaking the pot every so often to remove air pockets. A slow release fertilizer such as osmacote should also be added to this compost to help the plant get established. After repotting the plant should be placed in a sheltered spot for a couple of weeks and allowed to settle. Water and feed the plant as normal.
© Copyright, Highland Landscapes, Letterkenny, 2008.