The Root of the Story

Appearances can be deceiving, especially when working with plants. It’s easy to assume that because you water the same day and same amount to every plant, that this is the proper way to water your plants. But you don’t know is what’s going on below the surface. The root structure of the plants is the first thing that affects the overall health and vigor of a plant

.tolumnia pink panther roots

So, with the root system being so important, what should you look for in a healthy root system of a potted plant? One of the most important factors to look for is nice thick white roots. These roots should go all the way down to the base of the pot, not just at the surface. If they’re only staying at the surface then chances are there is a water issue with the plant. The other thing that you want to look for a nice little running routes throughout the ball of the plant. These are the little feeder roots that are going to suck up nutrients and water. The thicker roots are there for anchorage and support, as well as intake of nutrients. What you should not see a brown mushy routes. This could be an indication of too much water or possible fungus and rotting.

rot root

Going back to the top of the plant; the overall appearance can look fine for weeks on end, but if there’s a root problem you’re not going see it until it’s almost too late to overcome.

overwatered

So we get back to appearances; don’t assume because a plant has leaves that are wilting that it needs water. My best advice is to actually get in there and feel the soil. Use your finger, use a plant auger, use a moisture meter if you have to, but check the soil. With all three of those items, check the soil in more than one spot. You might have just watered on one side of the plant consistently, so one-sided the plant is showing problems. Also, be sure to follow any directions that are given to you read regarding the application of fertilizer; too much or too little is not going to help your plant. As a matter fact too much can easily burn the roots and cause problems in the growth of the plant.

So appearances can be deceiving-you need to know what’s going on down below the foliage area and in that root ball. Once you know how the roots are growing, you will have a better idea of how to take care of your plants needs.

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Gardening ABC’s

The ABC’s of Gardening.

Teaching a novice to have a successful experience in gardening can be as easy as teaching a child  their ABC’s. Regardless of whether the gardening experience will be for a few houseplants, a container garden, a large courtyard garden or even your entire landscape; these three principles apply to all. And if you follow them you have a successful gardening experience. Let me explain more…

Custom-Letters-A A is Anticipation.

When you walk into your garden, look around you before you do anything. Anticipate what your garden needs are.

Do you have some wilting plants? Watering is an issue here.

Are the leaves yellow and pale? Maybe you need to consider a fertilizer application.

Do you see webbing or curling leaves? It could be a have an insect problem that needs your attention.

Looking around your garden before you start can give you an idea of what jobs lies head of you. This can also help you be prepared and have all of the essential tools that you’ll need to get your job done completely and correctly.

bB it’s for Balance.

There has to be a balance between what you want the plant to do and what the plant is physically capable of doing. You need to know what your plant’s needs are; does it need highlight, low water, or good air circulation. Placing plants in a location that doesn’t provide what they need, is the surest avenue for poor growing results.

CC is for Consistency.

It is important to be consistent on your maintenance methods when you’re dealing with plants. A good example is this; if you water to your houseplants every Saturday afternoon, then you should do it each and every Saturday afternoon. It might even be a good idea to keep log of you gardening activities, to be clear on what you have done and still need to do.

The plants will adapt to the way they are treated, but if there’s too much time between maintenance the plants get confused and they don’t know whether they should be stressed out or whether they are in a normal pattern. Consistency should also be for your fertilizing methods, your cleaning process, and your pruning techniques. Waiting until a plant is in need of something may not be the best way to be consistent in your gardening habits.

Be proactive; anticipate, balance, and be consistent for a successful gardening experience!

wheelbarrow of fl ca

Of course there are a lot more steps to a successful garden, but if you can start with these three basic steps, then you will enjoy your time with the plants and gardening all that much more.