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Hapless Planter – Ep1: Potting like a Boss

Hapless Planter – Ep1: Potting like a Boss

Yay, episode one of plant care advice with very little foundation in truth or experience.

In today’s episode, I spend my entire Sunday morning boshing plants into pots which are frankly too shallow, manhandling their fragile root systems, then lining them up for a stunning photo, before they begin their immediate decent to death.

Who says Lockdown can’t be fun?!

The phrase I’m constantly using when faced with challenge or adversity, to my husband’s great annoyance is, ‘oh, it’ll be alright.’

And in this series, we’ll explore that philosophy in a very specific way.

So, in August, filled with optimism and the desire to nurture life, I purchased a lot of different plant cuttings from several etsy sellers, having learnt that you could, with the proper attention, grow a big, healthy plant, from a bit of another one.

That sounded wonderful, and more importantly, less expensive than buying the actual plants.

I’ve had the little bastards in individual glass bottles on my kitchen windowsill ever since. You’re meant to change the water regularly (though it’s a toss-up between the risk of algae forming in the old water, and chucking away the nutrients the growing roots have pumped into it). 

I didn’t change the water much, and most of the bottles went green with algae, which was super hard to wash out. Also, I let the roots get much longer than advised and turn brown, which I’m pretty sure is root rot.

Just take in that worrying green glow!:

Sound like it’s time to pot them.

Using my own houseplant soil mix, yes, that’s right, a mix that I started to make based on this YouTube video, before just pouring in quantities that just felt ‘right’, I filled 8 plastic pots. My mix was still damp from when I made it a few weeks ago, which I don’t think is right. Gosh, it’s going to be really tricky to isolate what kills my plants, the roots or the soil!

You’ll also notice that none of the plastic pots fit well into the ceramic ones, something that totally doesn’t make me consider screaming and having a good old smash session.

Let’s talk technique:

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I find that wearing gardening gloves makes handling the plants really imprecise and I can’t feel the pressure I’m applying, so I just get stuck in, trying not to think about how part of the mix is worm poo – nice.

I squash the soil down firmly, using my knuckles, up to about an inch shorter than the pot, watering every now and again, then poke my finger down the middle, but not to the very bottom. Whilst I am sure that wet soil is vital for the survival of roots which have grown in water, I very much doubt this smidgen of awareness is enough to save them.

Discovering that all the pots are shorter than the roots, I sort of smush, fold, bend them into the holes, touching them up as I go, instead of admitting defeat and buying the appropriate materials. Never touch the roots, ha ha!

I then add more of the mix, pushing down with my fingertips, trying to avoid causing any further damage than is already very apparent. I spritz them with quite a bit of cold tap water and congratulate myself.

They certainly look good, and I think that’s the main thing.

I’ll keep you posted on their progress. I imagine I’ll have any update in no time containing some worrying symptoms and decline!

Have a great week, HP xx

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