Web Journal of Assembling the Winch Collection
Repotting Illustrated
by Kit Knotts - Click images to enlarge

May 5, 2006 - All four plants from the competition were originally potted in plain sand in three gallon dishpans without holes, to keep them going but to prevent major overgrowth over the fall, winter and spring of 2005-6. Now it's time to repot them for maximum summer display.


< 'Blue Aster' | 'Senorita' ^ >

The crowns of the plants aren't up out of the soil but all are somewhat pot-bound, 'Senorita' more than the others. Because the greatest quantity of roots run to the outside and bottom of the pots, each plant can be lifted out as a "block".

Though I would be less careful with plants not so precious, (bare-rooting them, whacking away old roots and the old part of the rhizomes), in this case I perform a "modified chop-and-drop". I have to dig under the crown to find the rhizome, carefully since I want to minimize root damage and loss.



Rhizome removed

^ Blue Aster'
'Camelot' >
Each plant has a thick growth rhizome, all but 'Camelot's' already rotting at the base. If not corrected, this decay under the crown will eventually cause the plant to decline and possibly die. I cut the rhizome about two inches (five cm) below the active crown to be sure I don't affect the meristem.  

My favorite pots are Rubbermaid dishpans. They are wider than tall, have a lip for easy lifting, and last for many years. For these repots, I have cut several large holes near the bottom, lined with newspaper, added a layer of peat and two Pondtabbs Plus. The holes will allow the roots to escape into the pond bottom to forage, and let the plants get larger than a three gallon pot would otherwise permit.

I take the whole "block", rhizome removed, and plop it into its new pot. The important thing here is to push the crown well into the cavity created by removing the rhizome. 
I add very wet sand (so it will ooze into any remaining spaces) over the entire top.

  'Regal' is too root-bound to squash into the new pot, so a more severe measure is necessary. I slice off the bottom inch (2.5 cm) of roots and sand. Now it fits into the pot for finishing. 

A few hours later the plants are happy. Soon they will be moved to their summer locations.

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