Thursday, April 14, 2011

How To Divide And Repot A Plant

This morning I was walking around my back yard with a cup of tea when I realized that one of the plants that I've had bordering the pond probably needed to be re-potted.
Purple Heart is a perennial ground cover.  It is extremely hardy and if not contained will completely take over an area in no time.  If you have areas in your yard where you'd like some color and no fuss this is probably the plant for you. 
When I tried to pull the pot out of the little nook where I had put it a couple of years ago it wouldn't budge!  I figured that it was likely that the roots had worked their way through the drain holes in the bottom of the pot and had grown into the soil beneath it.  I was right!  After nearly falling into the pond I did manage to get the pot out of it's happy place.
It took cutting the pot away from the roots before I had the monster free.  It was then that it dawned on me that this would make a great blog post! LOL.

This is what I found! I'd say it was overdue to be re- potted!  The cut you see is where I took a knife to it as there was NO way I was going to be able to tear it apart.   If you are attempting to re- pot a plant that has gotten completely root bound it is very acceptable to take a knife to it to help divide the plant. 
Purple Heart is a part of the Wandering Jew family and is quite hardy. It will produce pretty little pink and white flowers from spring through the first frost.   You can take cuttings and put them in water or moist soil and they will quickly root.  In  fact, I cut this particular plant completely back once the temps have killed off most of the foliage.  As you can see, it always comes back quite nicely!  In fact, if not kept under control it will get quite straggly and look unruly.  I good "haircut" every now and then is a great thing! 

After a little work, this is how many little new starts I came up with.  you really don't need to be afraid to be quite brutal with these kinds of plants.  They are so hardy and are nearly indestructible.   Some of these actually have very little root system attached to them.  They will do just fine when securely buried in the potting mix and watered well. 
 I'm going to try an experiment.  These are some of the roots that were pulled away from the starts.  I'm wondering if I plant them if they'll send off some new shoots?  Some of the roots are quite thick and obviously part of the "mother plant".  I'm going to plant them in some bare areas in my garden and will let you know what happens.

 Here are two of the newly replanted pots. I actually got 4 pots from the one original plant.    The terracotta colored pot will stay where it is on the edge of the pond.  The green pot will become a hanging plant.
Good to go for another couple of years!

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