My Pink Princess Has Root Rot –

No one is immune to errors, or perhaps bad luck, and I am no exception. While watering another plant the other day, my Philodendron Pink Princess caught my attention – it was droopy. This is unusual, I had watered this plant a couple days prior as the soil had been dry – it should have been perky and well.

This led me to lightly pull on the base of the plant – a healthy root system will typically hold well, but rotted roots are more likely to fail, allowing you to easily lift the plant out of the soil. Sure enough, my Pink Princess came right out of its pot – and in hindsight I should have been doing this over a potting mat; I made a bit of a mess. But we live and we learn.

The root system was devastated. Many roots came off easily and were squishy in my hands. While this plant’s roots are naturally a dark red colour and seeing rot can be difficult, it was obvious in this case – the texture of roots should be firm and they should never pull off when you run your fingers over them. I had some work to do if I wanted to save this plant.

It may be worth noting that it is a good idea to take cuttings for propagation when you find root rot – this is in case your efforts fail, as they sometimes will.  In this case, I didn’t, but that is because I already have several cuttings rooting at the moment.

I began by rinsing all of the soil off of the roots – and since I didn’t have a way to sanitize the soil, it all went into the organics bin. This soil now has bacteria and organisms in it that will continue to cause rot – so it sadly cannot be reused.  

I then cut off all the rotted roots– leaving only the healthy, burgundy roots behind; rot will easily spread and it is important to remove all affected roots. I then placed the plant into a glass of clean water for a couple days to rehabilitate. Once the plant begins to perk up, I will re-plant it in fresh, well-draining soil.

Let’s Talk Terracotta

Many of us know about terracotta pots.  Whether we have many plants of out own or have never cared for a single houseplant, we have seen terracotta pots in homes, businesses, every garden centre, and even the dollar store.  But why is terracotta so popular?

For many the answer may be as simple as accessibility.  In addition to being easily found, terracotta is an incredibly affordable option.  Many ceramic and decorative pots can cost anywhere from 10 to 50 dollars for a standard 8-inch pot; basic terracotta is usually just a few dollars. 

Terracotta also affords your plants a happy home.  I have rarely seen a terracotta pot without drainage and a matching saucer.  In addition, the unglazed clay pots help to quick moisture away from the soil, allowing for good aeration and helping to prevent overwatering.  Terracotta is naturally occurring, sustainable, and a perfect choice for indoor gardening. 

While we often view terracotta as an orange-brown, simply pot, the material can actually vary in colour.  The amount of iron in the clay, as well as the method used to fire the pottery can affect the final colour.  Humans have been using terracotta, also known as earthenware, for numerous used since pre-history.  From sculpture to architecture the clay was valued for its light-weight durability and availability.  In terms of pottery, there are extensive traditions, across many cultures, including French Anduze Pottery, Italian Galestro Terra Cotta, and Greek Terra Cotta.  The material’s widespread use as a planting medium demonstrates both its beauty and its practicality.

Everyone Get’s A Yellow Leaf