Why pot-planted plants do so well....

Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VAOctober 7, 2012

Well, it's time to start bringing in the plants and cutting leaves as there's a huge cold front sweeping across the Eastern US. Hate to say it.

I like to remove 'most' of the leaves before I spray down the plants with pesticide and move them indoors. Depending on the variety, I may have to use pruners (below), or I can just bend down the leaves and they snap off. Doesn't work as easily on all varieties, though.

But what I really wanted to demonstrate was just how extensive the root system becomes when you 'pot plant' these things over the summer (sink the pots in garden soil). As we all know, the healthier the root system, the healthier the plants will be and the more likely they are to bloom.

Here is a photo of the plant when I pulled it up. You can see incredibly healthy roots growing out of the drainage holes.

Of course, most of the roots broke off when I pulled them. What you don't see is HOW EXTENSIVE the root system became.

Here I'm pointing to some of the roots from the pot in the back. Note how these roots have really filled the area around it. I'd have needed at least a 15 gallon pot to contain them all.

Besides building up the extensive root system, pot planting has other advantages. It keeps the roots cool and it provides better drainage as the perched water table is all but eliminated. The moisture is pulled down into the soil. And the feeder roots outside the pot will be sitting in perfectly draining garden soil. The roots also anchor the plants keeping them upright in late summer storms. Plants may need some staking initially.

Have fun bringing those plants in!

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Andrew Scott

Hey Dave,
"Have fun bringing those plants in?!?!"...REALLY?! You more than welcome to come to my apartment and help me then. I ONLY have around 100 or so to move indoors, and just like you, I have other tropicals that also need to come indoors. Last night we hit 45 so I know I will be moving them all indoors this week.

MY plan was to spray them all with the FE today but this darn rain is putting a cramp in my plans. Tomorrow I will hopefully be able to spray them all and then as long as the weather co operates, I plan on having them all in for good by next Sunday.

Thanks for the pics Dave! I find this very interesting myself! Was it you that sent me the Aztec Gold 2 years ago? If not it was the other Dave. Anyhow, that plumeria(along with maybe 4 or 5 others) did the same as what you described above. I actually felt guilty having to rip those huge, long roots out!

Because I have so many trees, I know it would be really hard for me to get them all in the ground. I could do maybe 10 or 15 every day for a week and a half or so, and get them all in that way. I just have t o be more careful with how I do this stuff this year. I am waiting for comp approval for my 3rd back surgery. The last surgery was last November. They put in titanium screws and a cage system, and 2 screws broke, and actually one of those screws fractured my vertabrae. I want to recover from this surgery and not worry about having to have another.

A HUGE advantage to sinking the pots into the ground is that you also don't have to worry so much about the pots blowing over. I had so many plumeria that were second year rooted cuttings, and some of them were all ready substantial trees. I want to say that at least every month of the summer, I was picking up 10 or 15 of my trees at least 3 or 4 times!

This coming season, I will be repotting almost all my trees so hopefully this wont be such an issue.

Thanks again Dave for posting this thread. I would love to see how many other people here did this and what there results were.

Bill gave great advice on how you could plant the trees in the ground without having to rip the pot out. HE recommended planting an empty pot that was a couple inches wider than the pot with the tree in it. Then you just slide your tree into that pot and fill in with soil. When fall comes and you have to bring them in, you just pull the smaller pot out. He said that you could leave the larger pot in the ground so the following season you could just put your potted tree right back in without having to go thru digging another hole again.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 2:39PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Andrew, really sorry to hear about your back. You have to take care of that!

Yes, it's a drag when it rains and then it gets really cold. You have to work in the cold dampness and the plants weigh a ton.

Luckily I got all my plumerias dug and in the garage or house yesterday during warm weather. But I ran out of bug spray. I probably won't have to heat the garage for at least another month.

I'm only maintaining about a dozen large plants. Throwing out the ones that don't perform. Just no time to take care of any more -- at this point in my life anyway.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 3:04PM
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Andrew, my sympathies, I used to work in the OR doing those surgeries.

I admire ya`ll, if I had to do all that work every year I doubt I would grow plumeria. Hope winter is short and mild with the right amount of snow in the right places.

Tally Ho!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 4:08PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Im with you Dave..

Been trimmimg here too!

Didnt use gloves, so i have blisters on my hands from trimming to many and not stopping.. : )

Today, i put on gloves...

I still have another 30 to do. The rest will stay active under lights... ( about 25 or so)

take care,


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 12:42AM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

looks great Dave.

I noticed also with the 3 that I sunk how much the roots spread. something that came to mind, any chance are you the Dave from some of BocaJoe's videos?

Hey Laura

How have you been?


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 9:41AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Hi Mike,

I'm not sure I'm in any of his videos, but I'm in some of his photos. Joe's a good fellow. We've shared a lot of plants over the years.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:29AM
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