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.
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!