Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mums the word

After two gloomy, rainy days, we were blessed with a bright, sunny and reasonably cool day in the Carolinas. I can't tell you how happy I was to see the sun today! I bought two large mums yesterday at the grocery store and wanted to "play in the dirt", but I couldn't because of the weather.
Well, today turned out beautiful and I took full advantage of it.

After removing bottom of the root ball.
I'm gonna take a moment to give what seems like simple advice... 
Repot your plants after purchase!
Most store-bought plants are grown in large batches and never get the proper care they deserve. It's up to you, once they are purchased, to take care of them and keep them alive. I understand if you are only using them for seasonal decoration and plan to trash them once you are through.  

ACTUALLY, no I don't!! 
You could always pass them along to someone else who would be glad to take them off your hands.

After "surgery".
This poor mum (left) was so root bound, there was hardly any dirt in the container. I placed the plant on a step - allowing the flowers/blooms to hang over the side of the porch. Next, I removed the bottom of the root ball and pulled the excess roots from around the edges. I also pulled the clumps from around the top of the root ball (under the leaves). I then pressed down on the root ball, loosening the clump (almost as if I was kneading bread). Next, I literally stabbed it with my garden trowel to create air pockets. (Like a baked potato)

*No, this will not hurt the plant or stunt its growth! If the plant has lasted this long in such adverse conditions - giving it some much needed air is not going to hurt.*

When placing it into a new pot (or the old one), make sure to fill the dirt back even with the top of the plant. This is what the plant was accustomed to before and it should remain that way if at all possible.
This whole process only took about 10-15 minutes. I think it's worth the time invested. Not only are you ensuring your plant lasts longer and blooms better, but you are also making it more stable (with a new heavier pot) against rain and wind. No more chasing your plants across the yard! I also suggest using a moisture control dirt as fill dirt. It will greatly reduce the chance of over and under watering your plants.

Until next time - Happy Gardening or at least repotting! It only takes a few new plants to revive a porch or yard for the season.

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