My spouse's solution to most indoor plant problems is to repot. I am in no way qualified to critique her approach to plant growth and vitality -- because it works.
When the need arises, I grab the requisite larger pot, some rich potting soil and a water container and meet her outside. Together, we gently ease the plant out of the now insufficient pot, note the condition of the soil and the root-boundedness, and prepare the new larger vessel to receive the struggling plant.
We massage the root-ball a bit, then place it in the new pot, filling and surrounding the root-ball with fresh nutritious soil to the correct depth. Then we water the soil to allow the plant to draw in the nutrition and find new paths for the less constricted root system.
I am no agronomist or horticulturalist; there are far better resources and guidance found in many other sources. However, I am a keen observer of the human condition, especially when in distress.
Professionally, I assist in emotional and spiritual coping and healing for persons in crisis, usually precipitated by injury or illness. And as one approaching the 60th anniversary of my birth, I have hopefully gained some wisdom; one bit of which I share in this reflection. In short, I have come to believe we need to repot occasionally in order to stay healthy and vibrant as we grow through life.
Perhaps my metaphor is too simplistic; certainly life is more complicated than mere house plants! Yet some famous and trusted teachers down through history have used basic illustrations to make important points. You may know some of these admonitions: "Consider the lilies of the field ..." or "Consider the sparrows ..." or even "Life is like a box of chocolates." These wisdom teachings take a commonly understood illustration and place it alongside a situation in life to teach something important about life and living. Such teachings are called parables, and we all use them from time to time.
So I submit this parable that repotting is important for houseplants and for you and me.
When I was almost a decade into my first full-time job in my chosen vocation, a corporate constriction (shall we say) developed that resulted in me leaving that job. I thrashed around awhile, struggled with very difficult feelings and assumptions, and finally considered that maybe I needed a different and bigger pot. Retraining provided healthier fertile soil, spiritual guidance ensured sufficient watering, and in due time, a new pot (job) was offered to me that I have thrived in for over two decades.
And so that's that. End of story ... right? Not so. In fact there have been a couple other "repottings" along the way, though not as dramatic as the one noted above. I profess profound gratitude to my Master Gardener and for all the assistant gardeners and the marvelous pots where I have been blessed to live and serve and delight in life.
I wish the same for you.
About The Writer
Timothy J. Ledbetter, DMin, BCC serves as a Board Certified Chaplain helping persons in crisis effectively cope and find their hope in hospital and hospice settings and is a Tri-City Herald Spiritual Life contributor. He is married and delights in their children and grandchildren. He also enjoys camping and boating. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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