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Mix your own Potting soil
Commerical potting soil in bags
Lowes and Home Depot sell bags of perlite, coir, and course sand; the latter in the section where the cement & concrete are located. (Course sand is used to mix with cement) Do not use fine sand for kids sand boxes--because the grains are too small to aid drainage and texture, which is what sand is for.

Suit yourself on a particular brand of potting soil as I won't recommend any of them. My potting soil is always made from homemade compost. But making real organic compost is probably beyond the scope of most of my customers. More about making soil...

Coir is fiber from coconut husks. It is better than the old standby "peat moss". The only problem is trying to pronounce "coir."
PRE-SCREEN  STORE BOUGHT POTTING SOIL

A 1/4" screen removes the large chunks of garbage found in commercial potting soil.

Wood in potting soil is bad. Un-composted carbon (that would be wood) will rob nitrogen from the plants as soil microorganisms try to break it down. So you have stuff in your "soil" that is rotting, molding, etc. Yuk!

NO WOOD!
THROW OUT THE WOOD

Look at all that wood from a single 16 quart bag of "soil."

1/4" screen
This is why you must screen store bought potting soil. Sorry, but I don't know how you can easily make a screen like mine. They can be purchased from online garden places, or you make your own frame of 1" x 4" redwood. The actual screen material is called hardware cloth at Lowes/Home Depot. You will need a roll of 1/4" size. That works best for flower pot sizes.

1/2" screen
For my large specimens re-potting into 20-25 gallon containers use a 1/2" screen to mix that soil. Here is more about that...

A PRETTY GOOD MIX
Mix pre-screened potting soil with other ingredients and mix through the screen. (I use an old dog water bowl for a scoop).

2-3 scoops commercial potting soil (wood screened out)

3 scoops of perlite

1-scoop coir*

1/4 scoop course sand

(*Optional-- use peat moss, or both coir and peat moss. Heck, the store bought potting mix will probably have peat moss in it anyway)
Want to see how I make soil mix with home made compost? Click here...
About 50% perlite is good, more or less.

Stir it all up by hand to get it mixed before screening it.

Shake the screen side to side, rub it through with your hands, etc.

Toss out the left over stuff that won't pass through.

OK, you're ready to shake it and force it through the screen with your hands.
Nice job!

It may not be my special organic compost mix but it will be a nice medium for the plant roots.

• Weed free, insect free
• Excellent drainage to prevent rot
• Fine threads of coir/peat to help fine roots growth
Repotting a root bound plant
BEST TO DO THIS IN THE SPRING

Root bound plants can be heard whimpering at night when its quiet.

Be a sensitive plant owner and give them nice roomy pots with fresh soil. Then you'll have happy plants.
See the roots forming the shape of the container?
I gently beat the root/soil ball with this bench brush that has soft bristles. Try to free up the bound roots without harming them too much.
If you go further in breaking up the bound roots you will break off/injure some of them. After repotting you should keep the plant out of direct sun, without watering for a few days. This allows broken roots to heal—so they won't rot when you water it.

Bare rooted plants that you buy should also be allowed to sit in their new soil for a week to 10 days. Don't water them right away, keep them in a shady spot to avoid heat/light stress while the roots heal.
This looks like a correct "next size up" pot.
While holding the plant in the position you want it to take, pour in scoops of potting soil mix.

Shake the pot to help soil settle.
Fill the loose soil to the brim before tamping it down. You can use a stick, or even press it down with your hands.
A section of 2x4 works for this size. With smaller plants/pots I use a 1"x2" stick.
Looks good. Soil is 1/2" below the rim so water can settle in without running over.
A layer about 1/2" deep of pebbles helps stabilize the plant, while holding down the soil so it doesn't wash away when you water.
A happy plant.
Uh, oh! Now they all want attention.

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