The Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia) that I have been taking care of for my mother had been looking wimpy for a couple of weeks, so I decided to put it in a bigger pot. This plant is one of two I am babysitting this winter–and I hate to admit it, but I am the horticultural equivalent of the babysitter who plops the kids in front of a video and spends the day texting friends. Once in awhile I give the plants some water, but care has not been what it should be.
I read a Terry Yockey column some time ago that recommended repotting a root-bound plant. I couldn’t find the article, but decided to forge ahead. Since there were roots popping up above the soil, I figured that was the issue. So, I dug out a pot one size bigger than the one the plant was in, thawed out some potting soil from the garage, and went to work. Imagine my surprise when I pulled the plant out of its pot and saw that its roots had not reached the bottom of the pot it was in. They did seem tight at the top of the plant, so I stuck my hand in the dirt to untangle them a bit. Then, I plopped it in the larger pot. This plant has about 10 times more plant above the soil line compared to what is below the soil, so it took a lot of pushing and adjusting to get it to remain straight and upright. After getting it in the pot, I gave it a long drink of water.
After the repotting, I moved the plant to the best houseplant real estate in my house, the ledge near the kitchen sink, which has both south and west facing windows. It’s been sitting there several days now, and it looks like its recovering from the trauma. I’m not sure if repotting will improve the plant’s overall health, but we’ll see. What I like about this plant is its shiny foliage and the tiny flowers it seems to have all the time. The are so perfect looking, it’s almost as if they are fake.
If you are looking for advice on repotting a houseplant, check out this site, which interestingly, says you should not repot an ailing plant. (Oops!)