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Rosemary container

Posted by ihatepavelbure Portland, OR (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 17, 11 at 3:21

Hi all,

Awhile ago I posted about wondering if I should repot my rosemary but I wasn't sure how to explain the problem so finally I took a photo. The photo below (I hope it posts correctly) shows my container-planted herbs last year (April 2010) and the same container this year (March 2011).

They spent the winter outside here in Portland, OR. I basically neglected them other than watering them and drilling some holes in the plastic container before I planted them. Hopefully you can get a sense of the size based on the leaves of the oregano, the hand-holes on the container (it was originally meant for holding beverages in ice, I believe) and so forth.

The problem is I'm struggling to figure out what kind of container could be big enough to replant this in if I were to replant it.

Ideas? Do I have to replant this year or is it probably good for another year? And if I do have to replant...what the heck should I plant rosemary IN? I want to container garden this plant if possible.

(I'm a newbie gardener, last year was my first year)

herbs 2010 and 2011


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Rosemary container

Your present container I believe is large enough for one Rosemary, it looks like you have two. As a long time container plant, I would be more interested in the mix you intend to use. The gritty mix would work fine for the long haul, but would require regular feeding and watering. Rosemary will thrive on neglect when planted in the ground, but not so good as a container plant. Al


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RE: Rosemary container

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 17, 11 at 14:12

I would just use the same container & simply reduce the top of the plant material by cutting back hard, which will actually rejuvenate the plants. Alternately (and this is what I would do if it was my planting) you could lift the plants, remove the old soil and root prune, as well as cut the top back hard, and repot into the gritty mix. I have 3 or 4 rosemary that I have been growing for future bonsai training for a number of years, and I can attest that they LOVE the gritty mix ..... as will the oregano and chives. Do the chives need dividing? You might want to prune your upright rosemary into a single trunk plant & develop it into a little tree-form plant with some directional pruning. They're fun to play with and make great little bonsai or topiary, topiary being the easier.

Al


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RE: Rosemary container

Thank you to the two Als! Right now they are planted in plain old miracle gro moisture control. I realize that people think poorly of that mix, but everything I've put into it has thrived. I see what you're saying about it not being well draining enough though.

Al #2: I'm a little overwhelmed by your advice....it makes sense in theory but I'm not sure how to go about it. I've never even repotted a plant except for an African Violet (I know, stupid....). I even take my orchids to a special person to repot them for me. I'm a little scared to prune the roots and I'm unclear on how to prune the top plant too. Do you have any advice or instruction for me on that?

Also, how would I know if the chives needed dividing?

Sorry I sound like such a noob here but as noted above, this is only my second season.


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RE: Rosemary container

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 17, 11 at 16:20

Don't worry about how you sound, or whether your questions seem simple. No one here is going to take you to task because you don't have years of experience ..... or someone will quickly point out that we were ALL where you are at one time.

Root work and full repots of long-term container plantings are a requirement if your plants are to grow as near to their genetic potential as possible. Once your planting reaches the point where the roots & soil can be lifted from the container intact, growth will begin to be negatively affected. If you learn how to repot, you ensure that the plant has at least the opportunity to grow to it's potential. If you don't repot, or if you only pot up, you ensure that it CAN'T grow to it's potential. That's just one of the facts we deal with as container gardeners. :-)

If the chives are taking up more than 1/4 of the soil mass with their roots, I would divide, because they'll surely take off this year - aggressively, and hog the lions share of water/nutrients. To prune the rosemary, just remove all the main branches so you have one branch sticking almost straight up. Then, just nip off the growing tip of that branch. You'll get a TON of small branches emerging from the main trunk, and a much more attractive plant.

Don't be intimidated by anything. Your plants are very young and have a very strong 'will' to live, so will tolerate a LOT. I would encourage you, if you really like working with plants, to start exploring all the ways you can manipulate plants and bend them to your will, and at the same time increase the enjoyment you get from the growing experience. It's really not all that difficult, and you'll get all the encouragement & guidance you need by just hanging around & asking questions/participating in discussions.

BTW - It looks like you ARE new here, so WELCOME!

Al


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RE: Rosemary container

Very new! Thanks for the advice! We're looking to have a nice weather week here (this is the time in the pacific northwest where the sun starts teasing us) so I'll attempt your directions soon. Can you (or anyone else kind enough to take interest) advise me on what size of container I could put the rosemary into in order to have it for a couple of years before having to repot again?


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disregard previous question

Oh, my bad. You said I could use the same container.


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RE: Rosemary container

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 18, 11 at 9:58

How large the container CAN be depends on how well aerated the soil is. When using heavy soils like the MG, container size can be critical, but when using fast soils like the gritty mix, there is no upper size limit for containers. The reason is, it's perched water that makes it necessary to be vigilant about your choice of container size; if soils don't support perched water, the reason for concern has been eliminated. You can plant the tiniest seed in a 100 gallon container of gritty mix & not be concerned about over-potting. This is a considerable plus because unrestricted roots means the potential exists for unrestricted growth.

Al


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RE: Rosemary container

tapla has all the zeal for container growing of a newly ordained preacher, and has inspired us all. So many gardeners only know about, and work with, the part of the plant above the soil, Al will teach you that much of the wonder of growing plants takes place out of sight under the soil, and "what fun it is". Al


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RE: Rosemary container

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 18, 11 at 14:03

Awwww - what a KIND thing to say, Al! A very nice compliment indeed, especially from someone who helps around here as much as you do!! Thank you!

I have to say though, that there are a LOT of good teachers here - all of us having fun, helping where we can. ;-)

Al


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RE: Rosemary container

Tapla: I have had a rosemary plant in the gritty mix for three months and unless it's watered every single day it starts to wilt. Other plants in the gritty mix do fine when watered every few days, so is there anything you change in the gritty mix for rosemary? The plant is also growing really slowly. Do you have any ways to fix the moisture retention?


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RE: Rosemary container

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 27, 11 at 20:26

I have 3 rosemary that are just growing on in the basic 1:1:1 gritty mix as potensai (potential bonsai) and they all do very well. They get watered every 2-3 days, except immediately after repotting, when they get watered daily until they start growing again in earnest. I don't do anything special - fertilizing them right along with my other plants. Is it possible you're over-watering? They don't like wet feet & will let you know about it - do you have spoiled foliage, too?

Al


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