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As a founding employee of Gardener's Supply, I wore many different hats over the years. Currently, I have my own company called Johnnie Brook Creative. The gardens around my home in Richmond, VT, include a large vegetable garden, seasonal greenhouse, cutting garden, perennial gardens, rock garden, shade garden, berry plantings, lots of container plants and a meadow garden. There's no place I'd rather be than in the garden.
Many houseplants will benefit from repotting every other year or so. Start with a bag of good potting mix. Look for a mix that contains shredded sphagnum peat moss, blended with vermiculite or perlite, such as our Transplant Mix. Adding a little compost (10 to 20 percent) will improve moisture retention and provide essential nutrients. Plants that require sharp drainage, such as rosemary, cactus and succulents, will benefit from the addition of some builder's sand. Sand can be up to 20 percent of the mix.
Cover your work area — floor, table or countertop — with plastic or an old sheet. Remember that making a bit of a mess is part of the fun. Put the dry soil mix into a potting tray, bucket, old dishpan or one of our Tubtrugs. Add warm water, a little at a time, and use your hands to fluff the soil as it absorbs moisture.
Collect any houseplants that look stressed or too large for their pots.
Most plants can be returned to the same pot they came out of. If the pot was completely filled with roots (no soil left), and you haven't divided the plant, it should probably go into a pot that's an inch or two larger in diameter. If you are returning the plant to the same pot, remove any old soil from the pot and scrub off any mineral deposits that may have accumulated.
Place newly repotted plants out of direct sunlight for a week. This gives the plants a chance to get readjusted. Hold off on fertilizer for at least two weeks. The plants will be healthiest if they can re-establish their root systems before starting to put on new top growth or set new flower buds. When it's time to fertilize, use a water-soluble form, such as Plant Health Care for Seedlings/Houseplants.
Last updated: 4/30/20
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