The Q&A Archives: Keeping it Alive

Question: I've had a philodedron for 25 years. It got tight in its pot and I replanted it, then it started dying. two pieces survived in the pot I replanted it in and I put some vines in water and they sprouted. I put them in soil, but they started dying, so I put them in water again. they've been like that for 2 years now. I want to replant them but am wondering what type of soil to use.
Thank you.

Answer: I'm glad you were able to root some of the cuttings. The roots that plants develop in water are a little different than the ones that develop in soil. When you took it out of the water and placed it in the soil, the roots had a hard time adjusting. There is a way to wean your plant from all that water. Replant in potting soil and then set the container in a bowl with a few inches of water so the potting soil remains very, very moist. As the water evaporates from the bowl, add more. In 3-4 weeks allow the water to be used up. When the bowl is empty, allow it to be empty for a day, then water the plant from the top of the soil, allowing the excess to drain into the bowl. Again allow the water to be used by the plant. When it's gone, wait two days before watering. Repeat this process, each time extending the time that the bowl is empty. By the end of a month your plant should have adjusted to being watered less frequently and you can take it out of the bowl and water it normally - waiting for the very top of the soil to dry between waterings. Use regular potting soil. The trick is to encourage the plant to grow additional roots. Hope this information is helpful.

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