17 May 2013

lavender and rosemary

I have repotted both my Lavender and Rosemary. Prompted by a handout; I saw a neighbor carrying a trash bin towards the dumpster and spied two nice clay pots inside. I said "are you throwing those flower pots out?" and she gave them to me. One was big enough to move the Rosemary up, and then I bought a new ten-inch pot for the Lavender.

The Rosemary plant has been looking poorly for a while, and I thought it was lagging behind the Lavender in growth (they're the exact same age) because I've been eating it so much! But when I upended its pot discovered this is one of the plants that got that bad mix of sand. The soil was very dense and heavy. I knocked most of it off the roots, gave it a fresh mix with plenty of perlite in it, and resettled into the new, larger pot.
The Lavender also had some of that old sandy mix but also lots of eggshells mixed in, so it was doing much better and I didn't bother to remove the sand when repotting it.
I'm amazed at how much bigger and healthier the Lavender looks! I hope my Rosemary is happier now. The scent off it when I had my hands in its roots was amazingly pungent and fresh.
So my conclusion is that my favorite amendment to lighten soil is simply dried and crushed eggshells. I like using perlite okay, but it's very dusty and of course you have to buy it. Crumbled packing peanuts work okay too for a free material source, but I don't like how they eventually float to the top of the soil. The only downside to using eggshells is that you have to be patient and save up a lot (or eat lots of eggs!) but I don't repot that often, so I usually have just enough. I'll stock up much more in the winter when no repotting activities are going on, to be ready for work with plants in spring again.

Note: if you're going to use eggshells, be sure to rinse them first and dry thoroughly (a day or two) before crushing. Sticky membranes and yolk reside left inside the shell will make it clump together and have an odor (I've learned from error).


Chris Howard said...

I put eggshells in my soil all the time :) These both look great! I've had my same lavender plant forever and it continues to grow great :) Once a year I give it a really harsh cutting back...almost down to the ground and it comes back beautifully year after year!

Jeane said...

Good to know. I want to cut mine back hard but was afraid to overdo it!