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A Guide to Transplanting House Plants

attempting to re-use.

Question 8. Is it possible to use a flowerpot without a


A frequent defect of trays that are sold with flowerpots is that they

fit too close to flowerpots, leaving no space for effluent water. If you

buy ceramic trays, you should choose compact trays covered with glaze

inside and outside. Others often leak. Plastic trays are bereft of these

defects. Moreover, they are light and don't break.

Question 9. What instruments are necessary for transplantation?

Quite a few instruments are necessary for transplantation of house plants.

Some people can do without them but it will be much more easy to transplant

plants having an iron or plastic scoop, a hoe, a sharp stick and a

garden pruner. In addition to a usual garden scoop, it's good to

have a smaller one -- especially if you have plants in small flowerpots

(between two and four inches in diameter). A child scoop or a tablespoon

can be used in this case. The same thing can be said for a hoe. An old

fork made out of stainless steel with a strong handle can complete

your set.

For firming soil in the flowerpot during planting, you can use sharp

sticks of different thickness and length depending on capacities where

plants are planted. For large-sized specimens of plants which grow in

tubs, you can make a sharp stick out of a rake handle. On one

end of it make a long, oblique saw cut. This end will be for firming soil

in the flowerpot. The smaller the flowerpot, the thinner and shorter the

sharp stick will need to be. The smallest can be made out of a needless,

sharp pencil.

You also don't need to buy an expensive garden pruner. You

can choose a cheap one, but check to see that the blades fit closely together

while working. It's good if you have an opportunity to try the chosen

garden pruner on a sample branch. Pruning shears should cut smoothly and


Question 10. How to prepare soil for plants?

There are certain house plants which need soil mixtures for normal development

and blossoming. These soil mixtures should be made according to special

formulas. Among these plants are orchids, azaleas, African violets, and

cactuses. The majority of others will suit average (or the so-called common)

substrata. They can be composed at home. Just use equal parts of sod soil,

leaf soil, humus, peat and sand. Unfortunately, components such as sod

and leaf soil aren't sold in shops and you can't prepare them at home.

But you don't necessarily need it. Nowadays, you can buy substrata made

of lowland (black) peat enriched in the necessary nutritive elements.

They should be prepared exactly for house plants.

They can't, however, be exactly identical in components as what is stocked

in various places. But this is not necessary. Choose substrata that is

more or less homogeneous without large clods of peat and not overly moist.


11. Is it possible to use last year’s soil?

If you have some soil from the previous year, then most likely it is

dry and, consequently, it isn't suitable for planting in such a state.

But you can make it ready for planting again. Just pour the soil into

a basin and add warm water. Mix everything thoroughly, making sure that

no clods stick together. If necessary, add some more water and mix everything

once again. Substratum prepared for planting should be a little moist,

but not wet. It should neither leave dust nor stick in a clod when pressed.

Remove all stones and knead large nubbins of soil.

Question 12. How do you prepare a place to work?

The most suitable place for planting and transplantation is a dining-room

table -- the bigger it is, the better. Cover the surface of the table

with a pellicle first and then lay down papers in two to three layers.

During the process, you'll have to beat the plants out of the flowerpots;

that's why you should put a wooden board on the edge of the table. Put

everything necessary on the table before starting your work: flowerpots,

instruments, sand, haydite, shards and a plastic basin for soil. Place

a garbage can near the table. In order to keep the floor clean, put the

garbage can on a stool. If plants are small, then it'll be more comfortable

to work while sitting at the table.

You'll have to transplant heavy plants in tubs or in big pots on the

floor. If the plant is high, branchy, and heavy, it's better to transplant

it in its usual spot. You can secure your floor against blows and scratches

by covering it with old carpet and a thick pellicle. Put several layers

of old newspapers on top of it.

Question 13. What is drainage?

This is a mellow layer on the bottom of a flowerpot. It's necessary

for removing excess moisture from soil. Without a drainage layer, moist

soil will touch the bottom of the flowerpot and lead to soil souring.

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