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A Guide to Transplanting House Plants

When spring arrives, it’s likely that greenthumbs are excited to switch back into plant-care mode; the main constituent of this care being transplantation. Many gardeners have questions in connection with plant care -- that's why we’ve developed this article in the form of questions and answers, taking valuable information from all available sources.


Question 1. Why is it necessary to transplant house plants in the spring?


In spring, plants begin growing and they need additional nourishment.

Their roots also need additional space for growing. During this period, new roots get easily accustomed to new flowerpots. That's why in March or April (or, as a last resort, in May) it's necessary to transplant house plants.


Question 2. Is it always necessary to transplant plants?


No. Transplantation is needed only if there is a necessity in it, otherwise it's better to leave a plant as it is. The first reason for transplantation is that a flowerpot has become tight for a plant. Quick drying of substratum (soil mixture) after watering serves as a signal to transplantation. It means that the roots have already taken up all the capacity of a flowerpot.


First off, raise a flowerpot and look at a drain port. If you see roots, transplantation is needed. If you don't transplant this plant, the root ends can dry. Carefully take the plant out of the flowerpot. Then look attentively –- if only some roots get to the end of the flowerpot, then you can hold off on transplantation. In this case put the plant back into the flowerpot. If the roots have already twined round the clod or if they create a dense mass resembling felt, then transplantation is necessary. One should first, however, cut the rotted roots.


Another widespread reason for transplantation is a bad soil mixture. Oftentimes soil mixtures are combined in the wrong way or they don't suit requirements of a particular plant. Sometimes it happens that a flowerpot gets broken, or you just want to change it for another one that better suits the interior.


The final, the most unpleasant, and the most valid reason for transplantation is soil plant pests.


Question 3. How can you take a plant out of a flowerpot with its roots and stems remaining undamaged?


The simplest way is to knock the plant out of a flowerpot. To perform this action, you need to take the flowerpot into the right hand, cover the soil with the left hand (letting the stem pass between the middle finger and the forefinger), then turn the flowerpot upside down and beat it with its side slightly against a table. It won't fall apart if the soil is a little bit moist, that's why you should water the plant on the eve of transplantation -- but not just before it.


Question 4. When is it better to begin transplantation?


Usually transplantation of a plant is performed on the day following watering, as the clod should be moist but not wet.


Question 5. What do you begin with?


First, check your inventory –- scoops, hoes, a garden pruner; buy fresh soil; check your flowerpots, sand, haydite, shards and additional pans.


Question 6. What flowerpot is better to choose?


What flowerpots you choose is a matter of taste. Different flowerpots can suit you: ceramic pots, plastic flowerpots or wooden tubs. Size and form are more important. You will need small flowerpots up to 4 inches in diameter for planting cuttings with roots. In the future, change the flowerpot only when transplanting in case plant roots have already twisted around the clod and have come out from the drain port. Flowerpots should be a little bit bigger in size than the previous one that was used -- in other words, the old flowerpot should go into the new one without an excessive gap between them.


In the majority of cases a new flowerpot should be one-half to one inch larger in diameter than the old one. In ceramic pots without drain ports you can plant succulents with the understanding that you will be careful with watering. Avoid flowerpots which narrow at the top (in the form of a ball or a vase) or have a ledge inside. Otherwise, you will have to sacrifice something: either a flowerpot or a plant as it will be impossible to take the clod with undamaged roots out of the flowerpot.


Don't buy narrow, high flowerpots or broad, shallow pots just because you like them. The first will suit only anturiums whose stem is necessary either to recess or to wrap up with moist moss. Shallow pots are good only for compositions of succulents, to which quick drying of substratum is even useful.


Question 7. Is it possible to plant a plant in the old flowerpot?


If plant roots aren't well developed (their ends are slightly seen on the surface of the clod), then you can plant it in the old flowerpot. You should wash this flowerpot clean with hot water and dry it before

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