Repotting Plants: Coffee Filters and Roughing-Up Roots

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To prevent dirt flow through the hole in this pot, I flattened this coffee filter and placed it over the hole. For one pot that had four holes in the bottom, I used two coffee filters to cover the four holes. (Click on image to enlarge.)

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Maybe this is something everyone and his/her dog already knows. However, I didn’t know it. Last week I stopped at Ferguson’s Garden Center at Okoboji (technically on Hwy 71 in Spirit Lake, Iowa) to get supplies for repotting plants. Two ladies there generously spent about twenty minutes helping me with pot sizes and my potting questions. One thing I learned was, to keep dirt from leaving the pot via the hole in the bottom, put a coffee filter over the hole. What a common sense thing to do.

This weekend I repotted four plants and have two yet to go. I used the coffee filter idea for each plant. I also followed the advice of one of the ladies to “rough up” the roots of the plants a fair amount. Of Bill’s and my plants, her exception was the Norfolk pine. With the pine, she advised me to “rough up” the roots just a tad but not much.

The “rough up” idea was, I think, to prevent the roots (in rootbound plants) from continuing their circular growth, and, therefore, to make the roots branch out more into the added/new potting mix.

If all the plants die, I’ll post about it later. I hope that won’t be the case!

When I took this plant out of the pot, the roots hadn't developed into too much of a circular pattern. Even so, I followed the Ferguson Garden Center lady's advice and "roughed up" the roots before repotting this plant. The only plant I didn't do this with very much was the Norfolk pine. With the Norfolk pine, I did just a little. (Click on image to enlarge.)

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

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