the urban gardeness

a novice gardener's adventures in chicago gardening

Planting, potting and repotting, oh my!

Florida parlor palm after potting up

Being a novice gardener, I quickly got confused with all the planting and potting terminology. For those of you in the same boat, here’s a quick reference guide:

  • Planting out: planting a brand-new plant from the nursery or greenhouse in a new pot.
  • Repotting: removing a plant from its pot, dumping out the old soil and replacing it with fresh soil (using the same pot). Many plants benefit from repotting every spring.
  • Potting up: replacing the plant in a larger pot. This is done when a plant becomes rootbound, i.e. its roots start to show or push the plant upwards.
  • Top dressing: removing the top 1–2″ of soil and replacing with fresh soil. This is done at the start of the growing season to add nutrients to the soil. Also useful for pots that are 10″ or larger and difficult to repot.
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