13 May 2008

Talk About Rootbound!

I'm embarrassed to display this example of why spring is a good time to check your potted plants for being rootbound. This is a gorgeous Dicliptera from Bustani Plant Farm. It was supposed to go in the ground but I put it in a giant pot instead and it bloomed all summer with no care from me other than running the hose on the it to keep it moist. Then it spent the winter in the garden shed.

The pot had to be smashed in order to liberate the plant to put it in a larger pot with fresh soil. Needless to say, this trooper of the garden looked great despite my poor treatment and it looks even better with a little nutrition. This plant's grey, soft leaves are beautiful and it flowered all summer last year.

Description from the Bustani site: "Dicliptera suberecta (King's Crown) #164 $6.00
Tropical/Slightly hardy Perennial – Sun, partial shade – 18”x30” – Zone 7-10 –
Family: Acanthaceae Origin: Uruguay
The soft leaves of King’s Crown make it a garden worthy plant because their silvery color combines well with so many plants. Add to that, this plant’s summer profusion of bright red-orange tubular flowers and it’s easy to see why gardeners everywhere just have to have it. Heat and drought tolerant, King’s Crown is also an absolute delight to hummingbirds. Listed hardy to zone 7, we’ve over-wintered it for several years in a raised bed with extra mulch in our zone 6b garden. From a plant family that gives us numerous showy tropicals, the Acanthaceae, this beauty is from Uruguay. Orange flowers, silver leaves, moderate moisture, well-drained organically amended soil."

So, be a better plant mom than your humble writer here and check your potted plants from last year and give them a refreshing spring treatment of new soil, fertilizer and pruning.

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