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How to pot up plants

Overview

Repotting gives the plant a proportion of fresh compost to root into and this will provide water and nutrients to promote new growth. As a rule, choose a pot that is just a little larger than the one it was growing in before. Choose a container with holes in the base that is larger than the one in which the plant is growing, or one that is large enough to accommodate the roots.

How to do it

Covering the drainage hole with broken clay pot

1Thoroughly soak the roots of the plant to be repotted by placing it in a bucket of water. Cover the drainage holes at the base of the new container with pieces of broken clay pot to maintain good drainage.


Adding pebbles or gravel to base of pot

2Add a 2cm - 3cm layer of pebbles or gravel to the base of the pot to allow for good drainage. This is particularly important for permanently-planted containers in the garden. This also helps to stabilise lightweight containers.


Adding compost to pot

3Add compost to the bottom of the container, using the plant in its existing pot as a guide to the depth to add, ensuring that the top of the root ball ends up just slightly below the rim of the new pot.


Man putting plant into larger pot

4Knock the plant from its pot and gently tease the roots apart to encourage them to root into the fresh compost. Use your fingers to lightly firm the compost in the base of the new pot and set the plant in position.


Filling around roots with compost

5Fill the gap between the rootball and the sides of the new pot with more compost, adding it in layers and pushing it down with your fingers. Continue until level with the top of the rootball. Water thoroughly using a watering can or hosepipe.


Adam's tip

For permanent outdoor planting, choose a loam-based, John Innes compost that will maintain a good structure for more than a single season if necessary.
If the plant has become pot bound, you may need to cut through the roots with a knife or secateurs to promote fibrous growth.
Keep newly potted plants well watered, particularly during hot weather.



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Talkback: How to pot up plants
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jonnyshaw 24/11/2011 at 15:29

I have always had containers for winter,spring and then summer.
But this year i want to use one of my stone containers to put perenials in so your articles on John Innes compost was valuable for me
I am going to put carnations in with another perenial i havnt chosen that one yet.
Regards
John Shaw