This week's show is all about containers for your plants - learning about their history with cultural historian Dr Catherine Horwood and discussing to the best ways of making your houseplant collection #shelfie-worthy with Ian Drummond of Indoor Garden Design.
Below you'll find some extra information about houseplants and their pots, and more info on this week's guests and how to get in touch with the show.
How to tell if your plant is potbound - and what to do next
- If you're finding that a houseplant needs constant watering, has stopped growing or is looking rather off colour, lift the plant out of its outer pot (if there is one) and check underneath the inner pot - can you see a mass of roots emerging from the bottom? This is a sure sign the plant is potbound, in other words it is overdue repotting.
- Then lift the plant carefully from the inner (usually plastic) pot and take a look at the roots - are they a dense mass? Again, a sign the plant needs a new, bigger pot.
- Don't assume you are being kind to plants by putting them straight into a much larger pot - the opposite is true. By upgrading a plant to a pot that’s way too big, you end up creating a sump of soil not held together by roots: excess water tends to gather here, which can drown the plant. Instead choose a pot that is around 1-2cm bigger all the way around.
- Use specialist houseplant compost if you can, although many indoor plants do just fine in multipurpose compost, especially if you add a little grit or perlite. More specialist plants such as orchids, cacti and succulents and carnivorous plants have their own special needs, so seek out specially formulated composts for these plants.
- Make sure you water newly repotted plants thoroughly (or even better, soak them in a bucket for half an hour before you repot. Most composts should contain enough feed for around six weeks, but you'll have to start feeding again after that, assuming it's the growing season.
Where to buy containers
Here's a list of some of my favourite places to buy containers. Let me know if there are any places I've missed out!
Quail Ceramics make the most beautiful, quirky animal planters and wall vases, which you'll see in many a fancy emporium. That's their picture at the top of the page. I love them all!
Rockett St George has a great range of planters, including a particularly gorgeous beaten copper bowl I have my eye on.
This week's guests
- Dr Catherine Horwood is a cultural historian and the author of several books, including the one we talk about in the podcast, Potted History: The Story of Plants in the Home. Catherine is on Twitter as @woodwise and her website is at catherinehorwood.com.
- Ian Drummond is a director at Indoor Garden Design and his new book with co-author Kara O'Reilly, At Home With Plants, is out now.
- Susanne Masters is a plant scientist with a specialism in orchids - she's on Twitter as @ethnobotanica.
Get in touch and support the show
If you'd like to share a picture of your houseplants, taunt me with pictures of your gorgeous Begonia rex plants, ask a question or make a comment, you can comment below, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @janeperrone. Do like the On The Ledge Facebook page, too. You can also find me on the social media app Garden Tags as @OnTheLedgepodcast - come and say hello!
The best way to help this podcast spread the houseplant love is by giving a review on iTunes - you can do that here - or on Stitcher. Thanks to everyone who has already done so, you're a ledge (geddit?!).
If you fancy supporting the show financially, that would be marvellous - On The Ledge is free to listen to but not free to make - you can click this link to buy me a coffee! It costs just £3 to help keep On The Ledge on the air for another week.
Thanks to my three lovely guests this week; to talented voice artist Mark Hamilton for providing the extra voices you hear in this show; On The Ledge's theme music is Government Funded Weed by Black Ant which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. You also heard Hot Lips by Bill Brown and His Brownies.