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Going potty!

September 1 strikes and we all go mad, cleaning the house, weeding gardens, plumping up our existing lawns or planting a new one, launching into the vegetable garden with such relish that some essential tasks get a little lost in the dust and stones in our wake.

Your plants in pots are a case in point. Both the indoor and outdoor varieties.

Spring is a good time to freshen their soil or give them a check-up, starting with their roots. Have they become pot bound? Are their roots growing through the drainage holes or lying on the surface of the pot? Does the soil dry quickly, does water sit on top too long when you water the plant, has growth slackened off despite a regular watering and feeding regime?

Any one of these is a pretty sure indicator your plant needs a new home.

Choose a container that's slightly larger than the existing one, and one whose colour and structure will complement the plant. Place some stones or mesh in the bottom to enhance drainage.

First, water the plant in its original container, leaving it to soak in fully. Next, wet the new potting mix to ensure it absorbs the moisture evenly. Don't skimp; choosing a quality potting mix guarantees a healthy plant for longer.

Remove the plant from its existing home, loosening the root ball by gently teasing out the roots so they are no longer tangled. You may need to make cuts to the roots if they are densely matted. Do this with a scrupulously clean and sharp pair of secateurs, carefully cutting and working your way around the root ball.

Place some potting mix in the new container, then add the plant so the top of the root ball is slightly below the lip of the container, leaving sufficient room for the pot to hold enough water to filter down and moisten the soil thoroughly.

Back-fill the container with more potting mix, shaking the container to eliminate any air pockets, and place in a warm spot.