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Pot/Container Culture

Potting is part of the program of plant raising that starts with sowing seed, continues with pricking out at wider spacing in another container before the plant is potted on in its own container.  As plants get older and bigger they need a richer nutrition, bigger medium and pots.  The first priority is clean pots, the second is good quality, part sterilized potting mix.  With the adoption of plastic pots and free-draining potting mixes, there is no need for crocks in the bottom of the pot.

For the first potting, fill a pot loosely to the rim with moist soil-less compost, make a depression to take the rootball and then lift by the leaves the seedling/cutting out of its container and place in to the depression.  More compost is added whilst supporting the young plant to the same depth as before.  Tap the pot to settle the mix, add more compost if necessary and water from a fine rose.  The plant should then be stood in partial shade for a few days.

Once the plant fills this initial pot with roots, it is time for potting on to a larger pot.  This can only be done after examining the rootball.  To do this water thoroughly, hold the base of the pot in one hand and put the fingers of the other hand either side of the stem.  Invert the pot and tap out the rootball (some pots allow the base to be squeezed which pushes out the rootball) which should fall out cleanly if the mix is well infiltrated by roots.  If the roots run around the edge, it is time to transfer to a larger pot.  Adjust the level of mix in the bottom of the larger pot so that the plant with its root ball will be just burried.  If the rootball is matted and wound, gently open up the base with out injuring the roots.  With the ball centered in the new pot and held in place, work potting mix into the edges and cover to depth.  Older or more woody plants may require firming of the mix more than younger or soft ones, which may only need tapping down.  Thoroughly water the plant as most root hairs will have been injured, reducing the ability of the plant to take up liquids.



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