It’s the beginning of autumn and I like it! Fall is a natural transition time to move my gardening focus from outside to inside. And I love my little indoor green planet – we get cozy over the winter. Fall is a great cue to take a look at your houseplants because you’re probably going to spend more time with them as the inclement weather prods you to stay indoors. Take inventory of their well-being and growth – do they need new clothes (a new pot because they are root bound)? Or maybe they just need to be freshened up (new soil)? Plants need new soil regularly. How long has it been since you’ve changed the soil for your houseplants? I’ve been guilty of letting some of my plants live in the same soil for a several years and just continue to feed them… but new soil can really make a plant pop!
If any of them need to be transplanted, the fall season is perfect because you can still do everything outside, without shocking their roots and before they go into a natural dormant period. Look for a mix that contains rich organic material like compost, sphagnum peat moss, coco coir. A little pumice for drainage mixed in the blend is also perfect. If the blend has worm castings, even better. Guilt time –
Spread a tarp, bag, or whatever you need to keep the mess contained. Tip your plant over and gently remove it from the pot. Trim off leggy growth, including roots that don’t look healthy. If the root ball is literally a tight root ball, I pull it apart a little from the center out to encourage the plant to grow more healthy roots.
Put some soil in the bottom of the pot, add your plant, fill in around the roots but don’t fill in higher than the plant was already submerged in soil. You may want to be prepared to add more soil to the bottom of the pot. On a personal note, I have always placed a couple of stones in the bottom of my pot before I put the soil in. One, they help with drainage by keeping the roots from getting soggy, and two, I’ve always collected cool rocks and it’s fun to revisit them again. It adds good juju for my plants.
So, get busy…take a look at your inside green friends and figure out which ones you need to transplant, trim, and just love on. If it’s just love you want to give, sprinkle some worm castings on the soil once a month or every other watering!
~ Linda Brown