Go get your shovel! Do you think that plant is going to survive where it is if you just leave it there?
Yes, sometimes leaving a plant alone that isn't doing well, isn't the thing to do. If a plant is clearly not thriving, it may be necessary to dig it up and move it to a new location or pot it up and give it some extra care until it has recovered from whatever was bothering it.
I've decided to pot up this Variegated Five Leaf Aralia, Acanthopanax sieboldianus 'Variegatus', because it certainly isn't doing well where it was. In the container, I can give it better care. I'll feed it, water it regularly and attend to its spirtual needs.
Spiritual needs, you ask? There are two ways to go with a plant's spiritual needs. You can show your 'softer' side by talking nicely to the plant, encouraging it to grow, touching its leaves. (But be careful with the aralia, it does have thorns).
Or you can try a little 'tough love' and order the plant to do better. Tell it in no uncertain terms that it is time to start growing or it's off to the compost bin, and then point dramatically to wherever your compost bins are.
I've decided to show my softer side with the aralia.
Look at the nice pot I put it in.I'm almost embarrased to admit that this lovely clay pot was in the garage full of pieces of other broken clay pots. It's too nice for that!
So how do you know if you should dig up a plant or leave it alone?
- If it looks like the plant is clearly not thriving and is likely to die where it is, take a chance and move it or pot it up to give it more care.
- If you are planning a construction project or some other major renovation, and the plant must be moved because it is in the way, go ahead and move it, if you can manage whatever size the plant is.
- If the plant has grown too large for the space it is in, and can be safely dug up and divided to make more plants, do that, but it is best to do it in early spring or fall. Not June, July or August.
When you dig up a plant that isn't doing well, look for reasons why it isn't growing. Does it have a good root system? Do you see signs of disease or insect investation? Was the soil where it was poor soil, too wet, too dry, too hard? Try to correct those conditions before you replant.
If the plant is diseased, I'd toss it in the trash. You probably don't want to mess with whatever chemical cure there is for the disease, in your home garden, nor do you want to risk having the disease spread to your other plants.
Any other advice, fellow gardeners, on digging plants, especially in the summertime?
Oh, and now that I've dug up the aralia, I have a bare spot in my perennial border.I think I'll visit a garden center or two tomorrow and see if I can find a perennial or two or three or a dozen, to plant in this spot.
Any suggestions? It's good soil there, mostly full sun, and the plant will be well-cared for and loved by me.