Repotting a Seriously Root-Bound Fern
My Boston fern that sits next to the door during the warmer months has not been enjoying his time indoors this year. (Yes, he is a boy fern - LOL!) Last year he thrived inside the house and seemed disappointed to be put back outside in the Spring, but this year he has developed some brown fronds and is dropping a lot of leaves. When Ian pointed out that there were roots growing out the bottom of the pot the fern has occupied for the last 1.5 years, I realized he was so distressed because he had outgrown his container, so we set off to Bloomfield's to find him a bigger pot.
I found a beautiful brown and red pot with cool glittery flecks that will look nice next to the front door. I like Bloomfield's, because they have a great selection of ceramic containers at decent prices. Right now all their older stock of planters are 40% off! Too bad the one I chose was new and full price. If you're ever traveling I-26 through Asheville, make sure you stop off at exit 53 to visit their shop.
We brought the fern into the front yard to re-pot it. We did this in the front yard not only to amuse the neighbors, but also because the fern sits very near the front door, and I didn't want to parade it through the house and have to clean up the fallen leaves afterwards just to get it into the backyard. Also, I really like to entertain the neighbors. Most of them are much older than us, and they appreciate a good show.
Ian held onto the fern while I pulled with all my strength on the pot, but it wouldn't budge a bit. This was not a good sign. I really wanted to save the old pot, because I love the shape of it, but it was hopeless. We had to smash it to bits with a sledge hammer to get the fern out of it. The neighbors got their money's worth that day! First we tugged and tugged and tugged, then we started smashing things! Woo-hoo!
When we finally got the fern out, I couldn't believe how badly root-bound the poor thing was. I am such a bad fern owner. I should have re-potted him 6 months ago. Shame on me! I also forgot to photograph it which is a shame, because it was really cool looking. The roots were very dense and growing together, but also there were these strange pod-looking things that resembled grapes growing throughout the roots. At first I was afraid they were slugs since slugs LOVE to eat ferns, but upon closer inspection they turned out to be part of the plant. Maybe that's where baby ferns come from - LOL!
I did not even attempt to untangle the roots before re-potting it, because I was afraid of doing more damage than harm. I really hope the fern makes it through this ordeal. It was only a $15 fern, but it has grown to be so big! I would really miss him!
Here is the fern in his new pot.