A little help: fixing a problem

A couple of weeks ago I got some new tropicals on clearance and potted them up. Did you see that post? Since all of the plants were water lovers, I used a pot with very slow drainage. It turns out that the drainage was too slow.


The soil stayed waterlogged, and started smelling swampy (from the anaerobic bacteria). Plus the plants started looking really tired and were starting to yellow (the banana was at least), so I knew I had to do something.


***

My first solution was to tip the pot up a bit and drill some additional drainage holes. This was surprisingly difficult -- not the tipping, but the drilling. This was unexpected, because it's a plastic (resin) pot, and I couldn't figure out why the drill bit wasn't going through. Then I remembered that I had but a couple of bricks in the bottom of the pot. D'oh!

So it was necessary to remove the plants, fix the drainage problem, and repot.

I dug up the plants (the banana, the Colocasia 'Black Magic', and the Canna 'Paton'):


They all had new root growth, so that's a good sign. Although it's hard to see here, the banana was starting to yellow and was always droopy:


This is what one of the banana divisions in a different pot looked like for comparison:

This one is doing great, and is larger than the original plant now.

The 'Black Magic' was overall droopy and was being attacked by mites (not related to the drainage problem):


The canna looked fine, and I think it has almost doubled in width since planting. I still had to dig it out though:


I then dumped out the soggy, smelly soil...


...and found that the bricks were indeed covering the drainage holes:



And yes I had been drilling right into the bricks:


So I re-positioned the bricks to keep the drainage holes clear:


Added some more peat, compost, and organic fertilizer to the soil to fluff it up and give the plants a boost:


Then repotted the plants:


They don't look any different than they did before I started, but at least things are better underground -- where all of the action is.

There's not too much time left in the growing season, but hopefully these plants will perk up and look better until I have to put them away for the winter.

Even if they don't, at least the swampy smell is gone.

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Gerhard Bock  – (September 10, 2011 at 7:19 PM)  

Ugh, I've experienced that myself. They smell is terrible. But the roots look great, so any ill effects will disappear quickly. Beautiful plants, all of them.

Gerhard
:: Bamboo and More ::

Bom  – (September 11, 2011 at 9:08 AM)  

I hate that swampy smell too. I usually get it when my seedling trays are over moistened and the cover has been on a bit long. Good luck with your plants. I'm sure the adjustments will help them along.

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