Thursday, July 8, 2010

I May Need to Break the Pot

Below is my Ledebouria socialis, crowded and rootbound in its 9-inch bulb pot.

Ledebouria socialis, just chillin' on a bench in my front yard

Closer shot, along with your blogger's feet. This picture is best appreciated in its larger version (for the plant, not the feet) so do give it a click.

This plant is one of my "old-timers," a plant that lived with me in New York before I moved out here to Chicagoland. It is roughly 10 years old, and was originally in a 3-inch pot. (I don't remember exactly when I got it; it could have been anytime between May of 1999 and October of 2001.) I was taken with it from the beginning, as it started growing, blooming, and generally acting pleased with its surroundings as soon as I brought it home.

This plant had a bit of a rough time after its move west. It was probably in too small a pot at this point, and was seriously underwatered for a while, as it, the other plants, and I got settled into our new home. The leaves that weren't dried out looked pale and tattered. So I decided to cut them all off. I was left with a pot of little purple bulbs. I moved them up to a larger pot, and put them outside. In a couple of months, I had this:

My rejuvenated Ledebouria in a 5-inch pot, summer 2003. Sorry for the blurriness; my old camera wasn't the best.

Now, once again, it is time to do something with this plant. Because it is so rootbound, even with my best intentions, it dries out and gets ugly looking in the winter. Some of that may be due to its normal dormant period during that time of year, but I think my somewhat erratic care is a larger part of the equation.

Plant from the side, showing the not-so-pretty remnants of its hard winter. It had very few viable leaves when I put it outside last month. I didn't cut it back this time; a week or so outdoors in the shade, with plenty of rain, revived it pretty well.

Close shot showing its solid mass of bulbs

I'm not sure I want to move it up to a larger pot size. The next step is a bowl, like the ones I use for my dish gardens, and I'm not sure I have room for that. Dividing it would be the alternative, but I am a bit hesitant to do that, lest I damage it. And I really like it as one large plant. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

There is an excellent profile of this plant available at Plants are the Strangest People.


Julie said...

I vote for moving it into a larger pot, since you like keeping it a larger size! :) It sure is beautiful with those showy leaves!!!

mr_subjunctive said...

I'd vote for leaving it as a single clump. I divided my Ledebouria a couple years ago, and they're only just now getting around to recovering: for a while, bulbs were rotting and/or drying out, sometimes at the same time, and it's not filling back in well at all. Probably I should put it outside somewhere like you do with yours.

Aerelonian said...

I really like this plant. I like the bowl idea. It looks great as a large mat. Just cover you're floor, you don't need all that space anyways. :)

Karen715 said...

Yes, I think I'm just going to get a bowl, and let it spread.

I wish someone would warn us that all these plants that are so cute when they are little will take over the house someday!

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Oh yeah! Definitely a bigger pot or bowl. If the roots go deep you will need a deeper pot. If not a big bowl will be great. Can't wait to see.