Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Inland Northwest, High Desert

January, 2001
Regional Report

Cover Drainage Holes

It\'s a misconception that plant roots grow better with pebbles or broken pot shards placed in the bottom of a container. A better idea is to use a well-draining potting mix and cover the drainage hole with a coffee filter. The soil stays in the pot and drains well, and no foreign objects create air pockets that could dry out roots.

Repotting Care

When you repot houseplants or large container plants, always water the soil around the houseplant thoroughly first. Watering helps ensure that the plant has water during the shock of transplanting. Also, the roots will be less likely to break off, and the rootball will hold together better.

Use Large Containers

When you repot a plant that seems rootbound (roots may be circling the container or growing out of the drainage holes), choose a pot that is one size larger than the old one. Measure across the top of the old pot. If it measures 4 inches across, for example, buy a pot that measures 6 inches across.

Proper Transplanting Depth

Although the new pot for your plant may be much deeper than the old one, the plant should sit at the same level in the soil - no deeper, no higher than it did before. Leave 1-2 inches between the soil line and the top of the pot so that water will go into the soil and not over the edge, and water the soil well before placing the plant at the same depth as in the old pot.

Fungus Gnat Control

If you've had trouble with fungus gnats (small black flies that emerge from potting soil in indoor plants), try topping the potting soil with a decorative layer of gravel. The gravel prevents the gnats from laying their eggs in the moist potting soil, so the population of adult flies will eventually be reduced.


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