Frances Tophill gives advice on growing house plants

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The latest episode of Gardeners’ World was a houseplant special which saw Frances Tophill and Nick Bailey celebrate the joys of indoor gardening. During the course of the programme, the gardening experts shared the must-have houseplants of 2022 and how to care for them. Meanwhile, Rachel de Thame explored how to care for different varieties of orchids.

Frances also shared how to keep houseplants “looking amazing” by repotting them.

The gardening expert said repotting houseplants or “potting on” plants is a “key part” of the process.

The Gardeners’ World pro shared the “sure signs” your plants need to be repotted.

Frances said: “A really key part of that process is potting them on when they need it and that’s because a plant sitting in the same pot for too long will run out of nutrients in the compost.

“The roots become incredibly congested and getting water into the plant is more difficult.

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“The key thing is knowing when to pot on. How do you tell?

“So look at its position in the pot – is it central? Does it have plenty of room to grow?

“If so, it’s probably fine. Also look at its leaves.

“If it has any discolouration or yellowing, then it’s probably a sign it needs repotting, and some fresh nutrients adding to that compost.

“A sure-fire way of telling if a plant needs repotting is looking at these drainage holes at the bottom.

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“If there are roots emerging from these drainage holes, that is a sure sign we need to pot it on.

“The reason for that is because these roots will eventually clog up the drainage holes and the plant will become waterlogged.”

Frances removed a spider plant from its old pot to reveal its root system.

The root system was just starting to go around the base of the pot.

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This means it was the “perfect time” to repot the plant before the roots became too congested.

Frances said one “key” decision gardeners have to make is what pot to use.

She continued: “You might be tempted to put it in the biggest pot you can find but actually that’s not going to help the plant at all.

“Too much compost tends to get waterlogged.

“What you instead want is something that will allow it plenty of room to grow without swamping it.

“If you can get a finger down each side comfortably and maybe an inch or two at the bottom. That’s exactly what you want.

“And this will be really happy in there and grow quite quickly.”

Frances put one trowel of compost at the bottom of the pot.

She then put the spider plant on top of the compost in the pot.

Gardeners need to make sure the plant is sitting at a level where the top of the soil oil just below the rim of the pot.

This will ensure when the plant is watered it doesn’t pour straight off the pot.

She then used her hand to fill the edges of the pot with more compost.

Frances used a multi-purpose peat-free compost which she described as being “perfect” for a spider plant.

She then gave the pot a shade to knock the soil down to the bottom of the pot.

Then, press the soil at the top to firm the plant into the pot.

Water plants immediately after they’ve been potted on and then.

Frances added: “That is a spider plant that will hopefully be happy there for at least another year or two.”

Gardeners’ World is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

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