Repotting - The cultivation of plants in pots - How to care for and cultivate plants: repotting
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HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS
of indoor and outdoor plants
Operations before repotting
Before repotting, the plastic pot must be washed thoroughly as well as the terracotta pots must be left to soak for at least 12 hours to eliminate any kind of residue and impurities. If you are using pots from previous cultivations it is advisable that, before being reused, they are rubbed with a brush and with soap and water and then carefully rinsed before using them to eliminate all traces of impurities and limescale.
Choice of soil type
There is no general rule for the type of soil to use as each species has different cultivation needs therefore it is advisable to consult the technical sheets of each plant to choose the right soil. In a very general way we can say that for almost all cultivated plants there are two essential elements of a good cultivation mixture: river sand (or other material such as expanded clay) and peat where the former serves to make the soil more permeable. to avoid the very dangerous water stagnation and the second to make the soil softer and retain moisture.
How to repot
After choosing an appropriate space to repot, the day before you water the plant generously so that it comes out of the pot easier and the roots are more elastic and therefore less subject to breakage.
If you use clay pots, moisten them thoroughly inside before repotting so they will not absorb moisture from the compost too quickly.
In the bottom of the terracotta pot, place some pieces of earthenware in advance (recover them from broken pots) on the drainage hole. If you do not have them available, use stones of the right shape and size to cover the drainage hole. This operation is very important as it has the purpose of preventing the drainage hole from becoming blocked over time and therefore preventing the flow of excess watering water. Plastic pots generally do not need this measure as the drainage holes are arranged in a radial pattern along the entire circumference.
Once the pieces of earthenware have been arranged, fill the new pot with some soil previously chosen and prepared and it would be advisable to first add gravel or expanded clay to the bottom of the pot, always to favor a more rapid flow of watering water. in excess.
At this point, take the plant and carefully remove it from the old pot: if it is small, cover the earth with the palm of your hand and support it while you turn the pot upside down by tapping with the other hand on the bottom of the pot itself to facilitate detachment. of the earth and roots from the old pot. If this does not happen, pass a sharp knife between the walls of the pot and the compote. If, despite these precautions, you notice that the plant is still resisting, then break the old pot. If the plant is thorny, help yourself with a piece of paper that you will wrap around the plant to be able to remove it from the pot (see example of Echinopsis); if the plant is large, it is better to spread the pot with the plant on its side and tap on the pot, moving it and having another person help you to flare it.
Repotting is the time to check the health of the roots and to remove dry or damaged ones.
The plant must be placed in the center of the pot and making sure that a certain free edge remains at the top of the pot, which is essential to prevent the water from overflowing during the watering operations. On average, the free edge must be between 1.5 - 5 cm depending on the size of the pot: the larger the size, the greater the free edge space must be.
Add soil as much as necessary by pressing the soil even slightly and taking care that the plant is placed in an upright position and not tilted. Lightly tap the pot on the table to eliminate air bubbles and settle the compote well and press lightly with your fingers and possibly add more earth as long as needed. Once all this is done, water abundantly.
However, if during repotting you have pruned the roots or some have broken, do not water immediately but wait at least a week to give the wounds time to heal as the water could become a vehicle for parasitic diseases.
In the case of large pots that make repotting difficult, it is necessary to periodically renew the compost by eliminating the first 3-5 cm of soil and replacing them with fresh soil. This technique is called backfilling and it can also be done more than once in the course of a season.