Oh my, the feeling of accomplishment you get when you’ve finally gotten around to doing a task that you’ve put off for
a long time years is so hard to describe! Even if the task is as simple as dividing house plants when you’ve put it off for 12 years………….will give you a few mins for that to sink in….yes 12 years (I’ve had the plant for 14 yrs in all) it does count as a huge win. Won’t you agree?
We are talking about this Chinese Evergreen, which was one of the first things we got when we moved into our first home in 2004. Ever since this trusty plant of mine has been sitting in its original container (I did things right for once and transplanted it to a pot that was once size larger the day after I bought it) and the same metal planter without any complaints, almost to the point of being too comfy.
In general it is recommended to re-pot house plants every 2-3 years depending on the type of the plant; a fast grower would need to be divided every 2 yrs while a slow grower like this one every 3 yrs or so. So I’m very very late on this one. If you see the base of the plant you can see how tight it is in there. Poor thing.
This is how I finally ended its misery and gave it some breathing room;
- Gently pull the plant out of its container.
- Loosen the root ball again gently. The root ball in my case was so full that there was hardly any soil left, a big red flag that it was long time I divided it.
- Pull apart the stems. We got enough to divide the plants into 3 good sized bunches; 2 to keep and 1 for a friend, who still has to pick it up. A, you reading this?
- Cut away all the dead/ dried leaves and any dead growth.
- In a separate container evenly mix Garden soil, Miracle grow and any of the dried leaves from the step above.
- Fill the planter (I used the same planter for one of the plants) to a third with the soil mix.
- Enlist another set of hands (in my case 2 sets of hands as I was the photographer, thanks Amma and Monkey #1). While one person holds the plant gently down in the center of the planter add in the soil mix all around.
- Give a good drink of water.
- The plant will look droopy and sad for the first week or so but not to worry it will be back in full swing in a few weeks. It’s almost a week since I did mine and they are slowly starting to get their mojo back. I mean, after 14 yrs of congested apartment dwelling how are they supposed to adjust to a few acres worth of real estate overnight!
While we were at it we repotted every other plant we had; divided some, moved some to a larger container, or pruned others.
It does look like I have a whole new set of healthy plants now. Wow, talk about a long overdue project!
Update: For a few weeks your plants may look like they are wilting and are about to die. No worries, they have been root bound for so long that the sudden change would have been too big for them to get used to. Tend to them as you normally would and I assure you in a month they will bounce back.
Do you put off tasks for later and realize years have gone by without you getting around to it?