Long-term container plants may need re-potting. Shrubs such as camellias and rhododendrons can become root-bound and will begin to languish.
So turn mature plants out of their pots and examine their roots. Handle your plants carefully they may be carrying this year’s flower buds.
And don’t allow the roots to dry, while they’re out of their pots. If roots are congested, try to tease them apart.
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If necessary, use secateurs to prune away a few of the older, more woody ones. Loosen up the rest so that they can grow easily into their new potting compost. Re-pot your shrubs using new growing medium.
Add slow-release plant food granules such as Osmocote and water the re-potted plants. Keep them sheltered from wind while their root systems recover.
Attack weeds early
Annual weed seedlings will be popping up wherever there is bare soil.
The worst of these annual speedwells, groundsel, hairy bittercress multiply with astonishing speed.
Remove as many as you see now, while numbers are still sparse. It’s still too wet to hoe on most soils.
But little weeds like these are easy to pull out by hand. They’re also safe to compost since they carry no flower yet.
On sandy or light soils, where the surface has dried, slide a hoe gently through to remove weed seedlings.
Keep the blade shallow, to avoid it getting clogged in wet soil. And don’t walk on it until it has dried.
Feed your houseplants
With increasing daylight, permanent house plants are coming back into growth.
If you grow indoor ferns, weeping fig, rubber plant and other foliage species, they may benefit from feeding.
Use a general purpose plant food, diluted in water as instructed on the label. Take care not to overfeed.
Most non-flowering houseplants grow slowly and will get by with an occasional application.
Evergreens with large durable leaves rubber plants or palms, for example may benefit from a gentle wash.
Use luke-warm water and a soft cloth or sponge to wipe away dust and marks from mature foliage.
If you have access to clean rain water, use that at room temperature to avoid possible lime marks.
Plant of the week
Crocus vernus Vanguard
One of the earliest crocuses in my garden is Vanguard.
The buds have been popping up for a couple of weeks now and are dove grey when closed. But, in sunshine, they open to reveal startling mauve-purple interiors, each contrasting with bright orange stigmas.
Grow Crocus Vanguard in full sun in well drained soil, or naturalised in short grass. You can also plant them in well-drained containers.
If happy, all crocuses will multiply steadily over the years. Crocus corms are on sale in autumn and can be ordered from midsummer onwards.
If you want a reminder, go to crocus.co.uk and make a wish list. They’ll email you when the corms are available.