Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Preparing for Christmas in March

It's way overdue but I'm finally tackling the Christmas cactus this weekend. By my reckoning, it's been in it's basket for at least 6 years now.

In that time, another plant...a kalanchoe 'mother of thousands' (bryophyllum diagremontianum)...volunteered into the basket (that's the leaves with all the little leaflets in the picture above...the pink flowers are the Christmas cactus).

Removing the plant from the basket, I see the only soil left is whatever the roots could hang onto for themselves.

It's a bit of a delicate operation to remove it from the basket without too much damage. 

The kelanchoe is in bloom. It has pretty flowers, I'm going to save a piece and put it in it's own pot.

Here's a few pieces of the kelanchoe that I'm putting aside for later.

A coconut husk mat goes in to line the basket. This will provide a good rooting medium and also help keep the soil intact.  It's very well draining and should help prevent rot, which is never good in a succulent like this.

I put in some fine orchid bark in the bottom to assist in draining. It will also break down slowly and extend the life of the potting soil I'm putting on top of it and, to be honest, I don't really have enough potting mix to go around today so this helps me to fill the basket properly.

Once I get the plant in place where I want it, it's just a matter of filling in and tamping with potting soil then watering in.

There, all done. Just hanging it back up on its original shepherd's hook to recuperate. I'll be moving it under the eave later and giving it a dripper to irrigate.

The kelanchoe gets similar treatment but will now be growing in its own pot on the orchid bench.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
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