The value of re-potting things!

Date Posted: 02 January 2018

About 15 years ago my wife and I bought a mandarin tree (Citrus reticulata) at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.
We planted it in a pot and didn’t expect to get anything much from it, but in its second year it produced a crop of mandarins of sufficient size and quantity for all 4 of my family to eat one or two straight from the tree on Christmas Day 2004. They were sweet and very cold, but we enjoyed the sense of achievement.
The following year I decided that it might be best in my then greenhouse (a small cedar wood one) and that is where it stayed for some years as the greenhouse started to collapse all round it. Each spring the perfume from the little white flowers it produces filled the greenhouse but increasingly it failed to produce a serious crop.

Last year I decided that although I had regularly fed it that I should re – pot it and low and behold this year it sprang into new life with a mass of flowers and subsequently a large crop of fruit. It had been outside for most of the year but when I had a new greenhouse built in September (the cedar one fell down) I decided in October that it would be wise to move it inside – and here it is.
We have so many fruits (about 50) that are perfect for eating now, we shall not be buying any mandarins this Christmas and the whole family (7 of us round the table) will enjoy them as part of our lunch on Christmas Day next week.
The moral of this story is clear. It is vital to keep re – potting plants as we are told by almost all serious garden writers (unlike myself). Accordingly this autumn and winter I have taken all the pots in and around our garden, and there are very many, and removed the plants using my hori hori knife and hand fork. I have cleared all the old potting compost out and am thoroughly cleaning the pots before I refill them in the spring. The plants I have potted up and put in my greenhouse over the winter, splitting some as I did so and trimming old stems and dead leaves with my snips. In the spring I shall take cuttings. particularly of the pelargoniums (geraniums).
Whether I shall have the good sense, energy and drive to repeat this exercise in the future remains to be seen but at least I shall know that re – potting really is a good idea.