Time to take stock of the pots

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Solving root-bound plants.

Gardening writer CEDRIC BRYANT urges gardeners to pay attention to any long-neglected pot plants.

CHECKING on pot plants can be a neglected aspect of gardening; when the plants look sort of alright and will possibly be okay for another year.

Cedric Bryant.

If long-neglected, the plants may almost certainly be root-bound, which means there is little actual soil left to hold water and nutrients. If sitting in garden beds, the roots may even have grown through the hole in the bottom of the pot into the ground. 

Tip the plant out of the pot to see what the situation is. It may be necessary to cut a quarter of the root system off the bottom. Next, with a sharp knife, cut down the sides of the root ball in three places. This will enable the roots to start growing outwards again instead of round and round. In repotting, there’s no need to put gravel or bits of broken pots in the base. With modern potting mixes this is unnecessary. Use a piece of old pot to cover the hole.  

Use only the best, premium potting mix. Put a layer in the bottom of the pot, place the trimmed plant back in and gradually fill around the sides, firming down as you go. Water in thoroughly with plant nutrients added, which will feed the plants for up to three months. Don’t use a saucer under the pot for outdoor pots. Instead, lift it off the ground with purpose-made feet or old tiles.

The end result after repotting.

NATIONAL Gardening Week runs from October 11-17. It’s relatively new in Australia but has been the largest gardening event in the UK since 2011, organised by the Royal Horticultural Society. Former president of the Garden Clubs of Australia (GCA), George Hoad, visited the event in the UK and was impressed at the stunning floral displays, show gardens and special events. National Gardening Week was then launched by the GCA in October 2017. Many group activities have been curtailed this year but it can still be celebrated in private gardens, especially through encouraging children with their own patch.

The delicate, exquisite flowers of vicia faba, or broad beans.

HOW’S the vicia faba growing? This
has been an important part of the Mediterranean diet for the past 5000-7000 years. No one is certain of where it originated, though it’s formed part of the European diet for a few hundred years, too. No more suspense; this is the botanical name for broad beans. Ours grew ever taller this year and suddenly burst into flower, and what a magnificent flower it is. If you have them growing, take a closer look. We’re assured of a bumper crop this year.

GREENING Australia had reason
to celebrate the conclusion of the Australian government’s “20 Million Trees” project. The organisation planted a whopping 8,073,090 trees, across 10,125 hectares, with
26 projects over the country.  

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Cedric Bryant
Trained horticulturist and garden designer with over 30 years experience in the industry.

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