Proctor: Housebound gardeners tackle potbound houseplants

9:29 AM, Feb 6, 2014   |    comments
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KUSA - Everybody's anxious to get their hands back in the soil. Go ahead. Tackle some needed repotting.

While most houseplants don't grow very actively during winter, lack of growth often signals that a plant is potbound. The roots fill the pot and there's little soil left to support the plant. Move the plant to the next size pot and add fresh soil and that should take care of it.

Sometimes, however, you may wish to divide a plant and start over with two smaller plant. This takes courage.

Clumping type plants such as peace lily, spider plant, dumb cane, Chinese evergreen and mother-in-law's tongue can all be divided. Single-stem favorites such as umbrella tree, jade plant or palms can't be divided.

To divide a plant, knock it out of the pot. This may be easier said then done. Often you must insert a knife to sever the roots from the pot wall. I've also resorted to breaking the pot. Some plants have broken out of their pots before I could transplant them.

To divide a plant, take a serrated knife and cut the rootball in half as cleanly as possible. If the plant is large, you may be able to cut the rootball into fourths. Replant each piece in a pot appropriate for its size. A small rootball in a big pot is often subject to root rot.

Use a premium potting soil without wood chips to foster healthy, strong new growth. Your plant will recover from the division quickly and thrive as stronger sunlight returns.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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