By Carol Quish
January is my time to pay more attention to my houseplants. Crowded pots need dividing and give me the opportunity to share plants with friends. Some folks even sell their newly propagated plants on social media sites hopefully for enough money to cover the potting soil and pots. If you are using old pot, wash them with a 10% bleach and water solution to eliminate any old plant diseases. Use fresh potting soil. I buy a larger bag from my local independent garden center. Woodland Gardens near me sells their own bagged mix I love. It is well draining and I have great success with it. Well draining is key to keep the roots from being too wet and giving opportunity for root rot diseases to invade.
Pots need to have drainage holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain into a saucer or dish. Always poor off any water from the saucer after watering. Never let the pot sit in water or the dreaded root rot can happen.
Use a bowl to hydrate the dry potting mix from the bag. Give it a few minutes to soak the water, then spoon or trowel it into the pot being used as the home for the new plant. Fill the pot to within a 1/4 inch of the top lip of the pot. This ensures good air movement over the surface of the soil and leaves just enough space so that the water will run out of the planter over its edge.