Cool Member
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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:00 pm
Location: Beijing

Soil isn't draining well - but how do I change it?

My lavender and rosemary aren't doing so well (see previous post).

It looks like the soil isn't draining so well.

How do I change to a better draining potting mix without causing too much shock to my plants and sending them to an even speedier demise? I've read elsewhere that both lavender and rosemary hate to be repotted.

So I pull the plants out of the pots, brush the existing soil off the roots and just plonk the roots in new potting mix? That's what my common sense would tell me to do, but then something tells me that it's not that simple and there'd be some trick involved with baking soda here and PH balance there and cutting a root here and trimming dead branches there.

And after I change the potting mix to something that drains better, should I take them out of the sun for a few days? or would they like it better if I were to give them all the sun they could take?

So much to learn here. Thankyou so much!

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Greener Thumb
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Location: N. California

lavender likes sand and rock over extra fertile soil, so add lots of sand and rock.

Green Thumb
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Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:19 pm
Location: Pacific NW

The question that comes to mind is how many drainage holes are in the original pots, if there is only one, the answer might be as simple as carefully drilling several more more or less evenly spaced. Also if they are in pots you could move them where they get less rain, like a rain sheltered area near the eaves. That is where mine are.

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Mod Emeritus
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Location: Oregon

The other members have given you good advice. I will add that you should never pull a plant out of its pot. Pulling on the stems of a plant can damage their connection to the roots. Instead, run a thin-bladed knife around the edges of the root ball to gently loosen it from the sides of the pot. If the pot is plastic, just squeeze the sides to loosen the root ball. Then, hold the pot horizontally with one hand as you tap the edge of the pot on the palm of your other hand. The plant should slide out easily into your hand.

Don't bother with baking soda or worry about pH, unless you plan to have a laboratory test the pH of the soil. Any growing medium that contains sand and fine gravel should automatically be sufficiently alkaline to make your plants happy. :)
Last edited by Kisal on Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

Cool Member
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:00 pm
Location: Beijing

thankyou thankyou thankyou! I've up to a bigger sized pot, followed all instructions to a T. Let's see how they go ... fingers crossed.
Happy wishes to you all

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