Monday, February 8, 2010

Moved the Butterfly Bush

After reading Fern's post last week about root-bound plants I knew I needed to check the bush by the door. Suspicions confirmed.

My sister and I bought two bushes from Home Depot...I think back in 2001 or 2002... for our parents because dad always grew the same plants every year forever. They needed some livening up. Well surprisingly dad was happy about it and immediately got ahold of a couple of nice marble holders and set them up by the door. He left them in the black gallon buckets they came it. I figured he grew up a farmer so he knows what he's doing. \:)

One bush thrived and the other did ok but was obviously wimpy compared to his brother. After reading the post about being root-bound I investigated. I wanted to move them to the huge 24" pots anyway. Once one pot was prepped I went to lift the beefy bush out of the marble holder and was a little suprised when I couldn't get it to budge, so I tried to tip the whole thing over so I could trim the roots, and it still wouldn't move. I had to sit with my back against the house and shove it over with my feet to find out...not only did some roots go out the bottom-there were 3 huge ones that had rooted into the dirt below! They snapped in the process of toppling bush and holder over, I tried to pull them up out of the ground, wouldn't move. Well, that explains why that bush was the beefy one.

The next ordeal was chiseling off what was left of the monster roots so I could remove the plant from the holder (and finding several species of bugs that I had never seen in my garden before *shiver*) and cutting the bucket off the root ball. Indeed that sucker was root bound. I know I should have trimmed the smaller roots more than I did but after the big trauma of losing the monster roots I was afraid that'd finish it off. Especially since dad was telling me the whole time that "you're going to finish with that thing", thanks dad. I did separate them as well as I could and trim some off, and the roots have a ton of room in the huge pot now so I'm hoping it makes it. When cutting off the original bucket I also re-discoverd what it actually is - Blue Butterfly Bush (Clerodendrum ugandense). We'd forgotten what it was called. Hmm...I often see bees and hummingbirds feeding from it...but hardly ever butterflies...

As to it's little says I killed it two weeks ago when I tried to prune it. Well, it still has a few leaves so I'm gonna watch it for a bit before I give up on it...or try to move it. In the worst case some of the berries it dropped last year actually grew in the flower bed next to it and I collected them. Dad wanted a couple to plant at another house, I kept more than that just in case some didn't make it and seems like it was a good idea...

Sorry no pics, I still haven't replaced my lost camera.

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