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Javajuice
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Last year containers, this year.

Hello Everyone!

Im so excited for spring! I have some questions hopefully someone can help me, or point me to some resources, I have looked everywhere.

My large pots, like 18", have perennials in them, and they are starting to come back. What do I do with them? In the past, I put another inch or two of compost, and/or potting soil on top, with some dry and liquid fertilizers. But my results have not been outstanding. I also suspect an over watering issue.

Should I remove them entirely and replant them in fresh soil, even potted trees, and strawberries? I feel like that will harm the plant. But at the same time I'm afraid it my be compacting my soil and loosing natural nutrients, I'm not sure.

I only use organic, non-animal derived compost and fertilizers. Also, these are for my plants that are not root bound.

I love the idea and price of just topping the planter off will compost, rock dust, and some dry fertilizer. But, I want to do what is best.

Thanks to anyone who helps!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Last year containers, this year.

Well, trees may be too difficult. But all my perennials in large pots, I repot once a year. I take the plants out of the pots, dump all the soil together (assuming no diseases or bugs). Then I add an equal amount of fresh potting mix, mix it all together, fill the pots back up with the recharged potting mix and replant all the perennials. This is a good time to inspect everything, remove any damaged parts, divide perennials, etc.
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Javajuice
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Re: Last year containers, this year.

Thats a great idea. Thanks. I think Im going to do that on a few of them. Think the strawberries will be okay?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Last year containers, this year.

I haven't grown strawberries in containers, only in the ground. But I would think so; they transplant pretty easily, so I think with care, they could be taken out and re-planted.
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applestar
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Re: Last year containers, this year.

I have some strawberries in containers for the first time (These are alpines I over wintered indoors -- normally, container strawberries don't survive the winter outside here) and only starting to think about the implications, but I believe it's best to do the freshen and repot in late fall or early winter when they are dormant or nearly dormant.

My reason for this is that strawberries wake up out of dormancy and start to grow and become productive in late winter or early in spring.

This way, you can loosen compacted soil and add nutrients to the root zone and won't disturb the roots at critical time when they are growing new roots preparatory to starting new growth. You can side dress/top off with fertilizer and mulch to support the new growth as they start.
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Susan W
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Re: Last year containers, this year.

I'll throw in my 2 pots worth. But 1st, where are you located? Also note that we all have different ways of doing things.

I have lots of pots, 100+ for herbs (fresh cut for market) and adding more plants and flowers, mostly perennial. I try to have a living soil in the pots, and not disturb it too much. To do this need a good soil mix in the pots, and have it well draining. I use both bagged top soil and Black Kow, both of which have sand along with other things. With 50+ inches rain, need a draining mix! Also some sifted compost with worms added.

Fast forward to following spring. As the plants are adjusting to warmer and longer days, carefully cultivate and clean the pot, taking out the weeds and stuff that has accumulated such as pecan hulls etc. With a hand trowel dig down and check the dirt. If it is still loose, and you see some worms, in good shape! I then add and work in more mix with sifted compost, and usually add a couple more worms. The worms help to borrow and keep the soil loose, and of course add their own compost aka poo.

Depending on plant, fertilize. Working in one of the Epsoma products (Plant-tone) spring and again summer is good. Osmacote may give a bigger bang. For the herbs I use fish (Alaska brand deodorized) as I want a nudge of Nitrogen.

Note that this whole process is over time. Now I am trying to just clean and check the pots, and it takes awhile to get around to all of them. Then do the adding and freshening etc. On the 2nd round need to check on dividing some, and also checking to see what didn't make. As you know, some plants are late to show in spring, so don't get over zealous and clean out before their time!
Have fun!
Susan

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Javajuice
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Re: Last year containers, this year.

Thanks Applestar, repotting strawberries in fall sounds like an excellent idea. I guess for now, I will load them with compost, and rock dust.

Thanks Susan, worms are a great Idea, I keep a worm bin in my house, so I'm never short on worms. I live in Utah, and my zone is 7a.

Thanks everyone!

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