Gardening / When things go to pot, the pots get going

Alibaba tapered pots… great for decoration, but not for getting plants out.

THIS summer has been a swift learning curve for old-timers like me, gardening for half a century, right through to those new to gardening.

This is especially so if you have lots of plants in pots where the smaller the container, the faster the soil/potting mix dries out.

Go away for a weekend when the temperatures are in the high 30C to 40C and the chance of your potted plants surviving is almost nil.

Cedric Bryant.

Mixing water-saving crystals in these conditions may perhaps help the plant survive a few more days. The leaves on our lemon tree, planted in a large container 60 centimetres wide and equally deep, were decidedly flopped with just five days away without water. Now is the time to go for a walk around the garden to see where potted plants can be planted in the ground.

THE challenge will be getting the plants out of the container. A serious decision then has to be made; which is the more valuable – the plant or the pot? A plastic pot can easily be cut away. Terracotta pots are relatively cheap and you may have to take the hammer to them!

For expensive ceramic containers, especially if they taper in at the top, there is no easy solution. Using a long saw round the edge to cut through the roots from top to bottom might work.

When removing the plant from the pot really soak the potting mix. Remember, if the plant has been in the container for years, it will be a mass of fibrous roots.

Once out of the pot, use the saw to trim off a quarter of these fine roots, including the bottom. After this summer I have reduced my container plants to half a dozen.

GARDEN centres around Australia celebrate Garden Releaf Day on Sunday, March 19. Established in 2014, Garden Releaf is an innovative program to help people understand the benefits of spending time in gardens surrounded by living plants, enjoying healthy produce to improve a person’s health and wellbeing.

Last year Garden Releaf raised more than $70,000 for the beyond blue foundation, which assists families or individuals who have been affected by depression, suicide and anxiety. In Canberra, Yarralumla’s Heritage Nursery will join in the fundraising with special events for children and adults.

Blueberries… Healthy and so easy to grow.

COINCIDENTALLY, March 19 is also National Blueberry Day, with garden centres focusing on blueberries for their outstanding health properties. The most important aspect is they have more antioxidants for fighting disease than almost any other fruit.

Blueberries are so easy to grow. If you can grow azaleas, rhododendrons and any other acid-loving plant, you can grow blueberries. As with all these plants they thrive in an acid soil with good drainage and love the full sun.

Don’t pick them before they are ripe as, unlike tomatoes, they will not continue to ripen after picking. Once the flowers set, water at least twice a week as, like almost all fruit, they are 80 per cent juice.


  • Don’t replant pot plants into the garden until the end of March.
  • Start seriously planting daffodil bulbs without delay.
  • Gardens, like stores, need a regular stocktake. Time to get rid of the failures and maybe replace with plants out of pots. With the best will in the world, some plants in places just don’t survive.
  • The Great Autumn Flower Show is on this weekend, March 4-5, at the Wesley Church Centre.


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