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How to repot houseplants

Spring and summer are busy for gardeners. Use the wintertime to repot houseplants.

DENVER — The best therapy for winter boredom is to get our hands dirty and make a mess. Repot some plants.

I don't have time during summer to mess with most houseplants. My hands are full. So winter is the logical time to move plants to new pots. Plants that have been in their pots for a long time fill those pots with roots. They're pot-bound. Move them up to the next sized pot. 

If you move your houseplants outside in summer and back in again in fall, plastic containers are a good idea because they're lighter and easier to lift. Terra cotta pots are the best choice for people who chronically over-water. The porous clay allows the transfer of water and oxygen through the walls of the pots. 

When you repot, use gravity to get the plant out of its pot. If it's stubborn, use a knife to dislodge roots clinging to the pot's walls. Add fresh soil to the bottom of the new pot so that, when planted, the root ball is at the same level as before--about an inch or two from the top of the pot. Add fresh soil to fill in, firm it in, and water.

Plants need saucers. Otherwise, the water will leave rings on your floors or tables. Clay saucers won't work; use plastic. If it's a big pot, consider a cat litter pan. If you're the thrifty sort--like me--save plastic pastry trays from the supermarket to use as trays. 

Cachepots are pretty but they can be deadly. You cannot plant in a pot with no drainage. It just ends up a swamp. But you can set a pot inside a cachepot. Place the pot on top of some old Tupperware inside the cachepot so the plant doesn't sit in water. 

More Proctor's Garden:

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