Thursday, January 15, 2015

Well, This is Embarrassing!

The state of this rhizamatous begonia is embarrassing! (This is what comes of having too many plants!) It has been residing in my bedroom for a  very long time. Today the bedroom received a  thorough cleaning, as a new bed was delivered. I put all my plants in the shower to clean and then I took a good look at this sorry looking plant. It used to be so full and gorgeous and has been slowly going down hill. It is above my view on a shelf, so I had not looked into the pot in quite a while. Yikes! 
Soooo, I brought it downstairs to not necessarily "up pot" it, but to just "re pot" it in the same container and add some much needed soil to the top. I wouldn't normally suggest that a plant be re-potted at this time of year, but it was necessary. March or April would be a better time here in the North.

After plants have been in the same container for years, they can need more soil, as the old soil breaks down. When you have a plant in a large container and don't want to re-pot it, something called topdressing can be implemented. That involves just adding some soil to the top of the plant, especially if the roots are showing, as in the picture above and below. This can also include smaller plants, as the one here.  You can see that the soil is down to my second knuckle. This is only a 4" pot.

The rhizomes in the middle of this plant are all dead so I removed them.

Roots showing as the soil is depleted

After removing them, I added soil to the bottom of the pot to raise the plant depth and just enough to the top to cover the exposed roots. It is okay to add soil to the top of your plant if it is depleted and the roots are showing, but never bury the plant too deep or it could result in root or stem rot and even the death of the plant.

The container was very dirty and I cleaned it before re-potting the begonia.

 I added fresh soil to the top of the plant.

I  probably should have cut off this flower bud, but I couldn't.
When a plant is struggling or newly re-potted, it would be best to take the flower buds off so all the energy of the plant is used to grow new foliage and roots. "Do as I say, not as I do," as the old saying goes.

This picture on the right is a close up of the tip of the rhizome and it also has a flower bud coming. It looks mushy, but that is just moisture, as I watered it after re-potting.
Make sure you inspect your plants often, and you won't end up with an embarrassing plant such as this one.

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