Repotting and the 5:1:1 mix

ledouchebagApril 28, 2014

Hi all,

Im curious about about repotting nursery plants into the 5:1:1 mix. Does one just throw them in the standard way and eventually the soil and soilless mix together as the roots start to venture into the surrounding 5:1:1 mix? Or does one try to reduce the amount of original soil by as much as possible to ensure the benefits of the new medium?

My main plants are: camellias, azaleas, gardenias, rhodos, loropetalums and a couple of maples. I can understand removing soil from maples during dormancy is ok, but what about the rest? Can they be thoroughly bared and replanted or will this kill the plant? I want the plants to get the most out of the medium, otherwise, I might as well just pot up in the standard way? Also, do I have to wait until the plants are root-bound to repot? Say, if I buy a fresh plant from the nursery and in it's standard soil and not roo-tbound, is it worth it, or possible to refresh the soil straight away and any time?

Hope this makes sense.

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

It is best to remove a significant amount of the old/nursery mix, so that you don't have two different soil textures in the same pot. Keep as much of the root-ball as possible, re-pot, then place the plant in a shady spot for a few days.

Josh

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 11:27AM
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neuf(5 Indy)

Should you go so far as to wash the roots in rain water, like sloshing them around in a bowl of rain water to get them to almost bareroot, or is that overdoing it?

This post was edited by neuf on Mon, Apr 28, 14 at 12:51

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 12:48PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

That sounds great. I usually blast the old mix off with a hose.

Josh

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 1:04PM
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neuf(5 Indy)

Thanks for your response Josh!

Jeff

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 4:52PM
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ledouchebag

Josh - Blasting off with a hose? Really? So you just have the plant with totally bare roots and put in the pot with the new mix. I would have thought the plant would crap itself?

Does this work only on young plants, bare rooted, pot bound in the growth period? Or can you do it whenever on whatever plant?

I tried it with a loropetalum this weekend. I only had the courage to take out soil from the bottom half of the root ball.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 7:43PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yep, I blast the mix out.
Then I replace the mix, working the new mix into all the spaces between the roots. And then water the mix in so it really surrounds the roots. I've used this technique on many different plant varieties.

Here's the rootball of a 35 year-old Christmas Cactus...blasted with a hose.

Josh

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 7:56PM
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ledouchebag

Thanks for the pic! It looks pretty healthy.

Is that the end of the hosing process? Do you trim the bottom roots dangling or just out in like it is in the pic? As to my original question, it looks like the method is perhaps not as extreme when compared to taplas total bare rooting of plants and trees in the bonsai fashion in his thread on repotting. So it's not really a total cleansing of the old soil?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 10:12PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

That's one major difference between Gritty and 5-1-1.
The 5-1-1 is closer in texture to common nursery mixes, and so completely bare-rooting isn't as essential as it is for transition to the Gritty Mix.

As for the Christmas Cactus, yes, I trimmed some of those dangling roots at the bottom. Truth be told, after hearing over and over how paltry and fine the root-systems of Holiday Cacti are, I was surprised and delighted to see this massive ball of fairly stout and thick roots. The plant transitioned very well. This Winter it put on an exceptional show from late December through the beginning of April.

Josh

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 11:53PM
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neuf(5 Indy)

Josh - I looked all over for a thread on tapla's style of repotting and planting for people like me that are new to some of these concepts, but just found the one of tapla's posts on bonsai stuff that douche bag mentioned. Hope these are not stupid questions. When I transplant my flat plants into real pots of 5-1-1, is it OK to be that aggressive with them or are they not really that sensitive? Can you rip the circled roots away when the plant gets pulled out of the plastic cells or do you try to preserve all of them you can? You mentioned that 5-1-1 is somewhat similar to the nursery mix and the nursery mix doesn't have to be totally removed from the roots. Do you do anything in particular with young starts when you put them into 5-1-1 for the first time?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 5:39AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I open the root-ball and tease the roots out a bit, and shake off whatever loose mix there is. If there are very long roots, I'll pull those off....otherwise, I want to keep as much root as possible. If I'm planting, say, a maple in the landscape, I will bare-root completely and root-prune to ensure an excellent transition into pure native soil.

Josh

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 11:48AM
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neuf(5 Indy)

Thanks Josh!

Jeff

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 12:57PM
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dekeoboe(7B NC)

Josh - Are you growing that Christmas cactus in 5:1:1? I thought I would repot mine in the gritty mix.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 8:45PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

A mix very, very similar to the 5-1-1...the difference is that I screen the bark more exactingly, so that the mix is a bit faster in draining. I would strongly recommend the 5-1-1 for the Holiday Cacti.

Josh

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 10:02PM
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