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Been itching to hand out promotions to your houseplants? Graduation time is here! Spring is when houseplants begin making headway and root growth supported by the brighter (don’t we love that word?) light and longer days ahead. Give them the power to propel forward—start rallying your potting soil and containers to move them to more generous accommodations.  And of course, while you’re hitting the garden centers to get a sneak peek at spring, nab some newbies for your windowsill menagerie. After all, let’s get real = it will be quite a few weeks before spring has really sprung enough to let you dig in outdoors. Meanwhile, your trusty houseplants will tide you over. Here’s how to say thank you, and put a smile on their faces…

Welcoming Newbies

Who doesn’t want to adopt a promising little houseplant and give it a forever home? At this time of year, garden centers are bursting with plants just begging to go home with you. Even supermarkets get into the act. Go ahead, pop one of those little charmers into your shopping cart. And the moment you get it home, liberate that baby from its sad, cramped, totally blah plastic pot into something that will make it sing. Maybe you want to accent the foliar or flower colors. Maybe you want a cool patina. Whatever way you swing, be sure your new container has drainage holes. And have your Coast of Maine Bar Harbor Blend Organic Potting Soil ready for action—might as well stock up on some big bags, because you’ve got plenty of projects ahead.

For the actual graduation, don’t go crazy with the pot size. Find a container that gives your newbie an inch or two of addition space all around. That way, you won’t have a sizable swamp of damp soil with no roots penetrating. Then check the root system in a couple of months for the next promotion. When repotting, gently tease the roots free of the root ball. Then tuck soil firmly all around. After repotting, always water the plant in.


Do All Plants Need a Promotion?

Not necessarily. Always check the root system before graduating a plant. You want to see a network of squiggly roots all around the rootball before giving your plant a larger container. Some plants, such as cacti and succulents, prefer to be tightly potted. Rather than giving them a larger container, just move them into something good looking. While you’re at it, switch them to an appropriate potting soil, like Coast of Maine Mount Desert Island Blend Organic Cactus & Succulent Mix. They love the grit!

Divide and Conquer

Who doesn’t love a good deal? Often, little plants are sold in group pots. And sometimes, creeping plants like thymes, baby’s tears, and mosses are spilling over the edge of their container. Go ahead and divide them up to make two or three plants. As long as each section has its own roots, you are golden. Give them fresh soil in each container and they’ll eventually become better achievers.

Spring Grooming

            Bet you’ve got some houseplants that grew by leaps and bounds during winter (herbs = we’re looking at you). Not only do you owe them a more generous container right now, simultaneously, you might want to give them a haircut. Just remove between 1/3 and 2/3rds of their growth. They’ll thank you for it. This is especially helpful for sun-loving plants that made leggy, wispy growth over the winter. A little grooming makeover right now is going to result in a snazzy presentation when new growth begins filling out. With spring’s additional light, headway is going to happen in a blink. Be brave—you can do this!

Written by award winning author, Tovah Martin.  Photos also taken by Tovah Martin.  Find her books and more information on her website:

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