CO-Horts Blog

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Repotting an Heirloom Houseplant

 Posted by: Alison O'Connor

Sometimes horticulture can be stressful. That anxious feeling you get when you splurge on a plant that you know probably won't survive in your landscape...or when you sow your seeds, but forget to turn on the heat mat...or when you don't water your houseplants for a month. Or is it just me? A couple weeks ago I experienced the most horticultural anxiety when I repotted a 50+ year old rope hoya that belonged to my Grandma Mae. Grandma Mae passed away right before I moved to Colorado and this hoya lived in her house for decades. It was always dark green and beautiful.

Horticultural anxiety!

This plant means the world to me, and when I moved across the country, it had a prime location in the car, nestled between blankets. Since then, it's happily lived on the hutch in our kitchen, facing east. Well, mostly happily. It needed repotting, something I was happy to ignore for years. Like YEARS. It was growing (kind of)! It was thriving (mostly)! It was green (pale)! But the time came when I couldn't ignore it any longer.

My rope hoya was not a happy camper, but I couldn't bear to repot it. 

With dread in my stomach, I bought new cacti/succulent potting mix, a new pot, and set to work. It was in a tiny clay pot and there wasn't a way to pull it out, so I broke the pot apart with a hammer - gently. It was almost like the plant breathed a sigh of relief when the pot came off. I held the plant in my hands, a matted mess of roots, and cursed myself for not repotting it years ago. 

The root ball is so small! Why did I wait so long?!?

I gently brought it to the sink, hydrated the roots (which seemed to shrink), and prepared the hoya for its new home. A little potting mix in the bottom, tuck the plant in, a little more potting mix, gently press around the plant. I'm fairly certain that my pulse was racing and I barely breathed during the process. Then I returned it to the sink and gave it a good watering. I'll fertilize it in a couple weeks once it gets more settled. 

Happy in its new home. Grandma Mae would be proud.

As of now it's doing fine. I'm hopeful it will bloom again and live another 50+ years!

1 comment:

  1. Well done, I'm sure it's so much relieved to be able to stretch those roots. Good luck, keep me posted.