How to choose a pot for the flower? What valuable information soil can hold?
It is quite often that an answer to "What's wrong with my flower?" is too small and inappropriate flower pot.
First of all, plastic cups you buy plants in are not pots! If you care for plants' health and condition, you should replant them from cups to pots. Eventually, if the plant has been just planted in the pot, you can keep it there until it grows some roots. How do you know it's the time? The time to replant?
The first warning signal is the condition when you cannot put your finger in between the soil clump and the cup wall. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, e.g. zamioculcas, a popular Money Tree, or nolina – elephant's foot, which like overtight pots. However, when the root clump takes all possible space, in most cases it means that you should seriously consider replanting to another pot. When the root clump is also hard and compacted like a rock, consequences of this condition are sure to be visible in overground part.
By taking water and minerals off the soil, plants "eat" the soil in a way. When the soil depletes, the plant goes weaker, it lacks micro- and macroelements for proper functioning. It has no place to grow new roots either. When weakened, it attracts pests and infections, which means a catastrophe. It is good to see and smell plants' root clumps before purchase. That's right, smell! However funny it may look at first, and it's also hard to smell 1000 of root clumps when planting an average sized garden, when you bring only one or two pieces home or to a garden, make sure everything is fine.
Often when a disease caused by e.g. fungi is in its early stage of development, any amateur will find it difficult to spot the signs on stems or leaves. It also happens that a disease shows signs on overground plant's parts only in certain months of year (then it is not put to sale, obviously ;)). Roots however would usually tell the truth. Specific stale or rotten smell should immediately switch the warning light. Sometimes the situation is contrary: unfair sellers put recently cut and unrooted plant stem into large cup in the hope for higher price, for alleged plant "size". That's why you should carefully see whole plant, overground and underground part, when purchasing. Root clump should be healthy, compacted and should not overgrow the cup. Therefore, inspect root clumps. After slight pressing around plastic cup, the plant should be easier to remove. However, if the plant is reluctant, you can try to carefully drive narrow trowel or a knife between the cup wall and the root clump, and slowly pry it up this way. When the roots are healthy and do not show mechanical damage, you should only pick the right sized pot and enjoy having the new plant.
The pot should be approximately 1.5 cm bigger than root clump diameter. You should replant flowers once every 2 years.
Remember that most house plants dislike standing water, so you are free to use few centimetres thick drain of expanded clay on the bottom of each pot.
When handling plants and soil, in particular those bought from uncertain farming, you are exposed to fungi and bacteria. Remember to use gloves at all times when working with soil, even when it's only one pot ;)
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