Wednesday, March 9, 2016

re-potting a plant baby

if you know me, you know I love my plants.  my peace lily had waaay outgrown its starter pot.  how did I know, you ask?  well.  first of all, I could look at the bottom and see sad little root feelers poking out and finding no dirt.  second of all, it would just not hold enough water, and the peace lily was desperate for more water.  

I picked up the stuff I needed at a Walmart garden center, just because I was there.  that potting soil is organic, which doesn't matter with an ornamental plant, but the shelves were pretty bare.  that pot there is not pretty, I know, but I'm thinking about painting it.  I picked that one because a.) the furniture in our rental house is not the most sturdy and I move my plants around a lot, so light plastic is a good idea, and b.) because it has a self-watering tray that uses I dunno, osmosis or capillary action or something from high school biology.  and like I said, this peace lily has an issue staying hydrated in the sun.

step one: put a good layer of dirt in the bottom of the pot.  this will depend on the size of the old pot versus the size of the new pot.  I needed a lot.  I also poured water on it at this point because sometimes potting soil can be less than absorbent and I wanted to prime it.

step two: cover as much of the top of the pot with one hand, fitting your fingers and thumb around the plant to try to keep it and its dirt/roots stable.  my plant was in a plastic liner inside its old pot, but if you're dumping out something heavy, maybe get some extra hands.

step three: if your pot is plastic, squeeze it a few times to loosen it up.  otherwise, tap, shake gently, and generally work the plant free.  ugh, look how rootbound!  I'm sorry, peace lily, so sorry.

step four: cut off the worst twisty layers of angry roots, and then floof up the rest, like you're messing up somebody's hair. 

step five: put the plant into the new pot.  add/remove potting soil as needed to make it sit up at the right height, make sure it's centered and straight, and then dump handfuls of dirt around the sides.  if the plant needs support, pat the soil down firmly.  throw a final layer on there, which will settle with watering over time.

step six: put him in his new home - preferably a gentle, indirect light location so he can get over his trauma.  but look at that guy...he looks like a much happier camper already.