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Repot at your own risk

This past weekend was fabulous…and the weather this week has only gotten warmer and better. Add in daylight savings time, and it’s like I have a whole new attitude about everything.

I’m just saying.

So, on Sunday afternoon, I settled in on my front porch steps with a bag of potting soil, the overcrowded pot of sunflower seedlings, and a newer, bigger pot. It still wasn’t going to work as the permanent sunflower home, but I figured it would get the job done while the seedlings got a little stronger.

Original potFirst, can I just mention how cute the original little pot was? Overcrowded as it might have been, it was highly decorated with colored drawings of garden accoutrements—a watering can and a gardening shovel, for example. If I could have transplanted the colorings along with the plants, I would have, but alas, they were too well glued to the original terracotta pot.

I filled up their new home most of the way with potting soil, and then began the delicate surgery required to get the seedlings out of their original pot and into the new one. There were about 10 seedlings, all just a little bit leggy and a lot fragile, and I finally had to just use my fingers to dig carefully around the edge of their original home, hoping that I wasn’t tearing fragile roots as I went along.

Untangling seedlingsEventually I got them loosened enough to ease the dirt and root ball out of the original pot, and then I settled them into the new pot.

This is the point at which I realized I had already broken one of the seedlings. I had a moment of silence for the fallen one, crossed my fingers that the four-and-half-year-old would not be able to read my blog for another couple of years, and kept working.

This is the point at which I realized I had now broken two of the seedlings. This is also the point at which things came out of my mouth that are not appropriate for four-and-a-half-year-olds to hear. But I persevered.

Eventually, with a little careful untangling and some easing of the new potting soil around the exposed seedling roots, I managed to get the surviving seedlings in place and somewhat untangled. They all flopped over the edge of their new pot, as if they were as exhausted by the wrestling as I was.

Flopped-over seedlingsHonestly, surgeons, I have no idea how you do it.

Now it’s just a wait-and-see game. I turn the seedlings back over to The Mint Killer and her daughter tomorrow, and after that, anything that happens is their responsibility.

But I hope the seedlings make it.

12 Comments on “Repot at your own risk”

  1. #1 the mint killer
    on Mar 14th, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    said four and half year old said “wow! thats my plant!” when i showed her your latest blog entry. she might not be able to read full sentences yet, but i can. she was gripped with anticipation about the repotting saga, and then said, in delight and relief “thanks genie!”. it’s not a lot to be said, but i think you get the point….

  2. #2 inadvertentgardener
    on Mar 14th, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    I’m glad she was relieved and delighted! The seedlings seem to be doing OK so far — still a little droopy and probably still shocked, but OK. So there’s good news, there! Safe travels home…

  3. #3 kate
    on Mar 16th, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Thanks for the update. It looks as if the seedlings survived and are most happy in their new environment!

  4. #4 Steven Wilson
    on Mar 17th, 2007 at 6:18 am

    It looks like the seedlings are doing well in their new home.I love to put seeds in,and watch them transform into life.
    Best of luck.

    Steven Wilson

  5. #5 inadvertentgardener
    on Mar 17th, 2007 at 7:56 pm

    Kate, so far, so good — they’re growing in curlicues, but they’re definitely growing!

  6. #6 inadvertentgardener
    on Mar 17th, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    Steven, the seed-to-plant continuum is pretty fascinating, isn’t it? I’m looking forward to see if some of the seeds I bought this year actually grow into anything when I plant them outside. We’ll see how it goes.

  7. #7 Annie
    on Mar 19th, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Good luck little sunflowers! You know it’s a rare feat to turn the repotting of a few leggy seedlings into a tale worth worrying over. As usual, you pull it off in spades! No pun intended…

  8. #8 inadvertentgardener
    on Mar 22nd, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    Annie, thanks for the compliment and for stopping by!

  9. #9 gejala pokok » sunflower emergency transplant!
    on Apr 26th, 2007 at 12:33 am

    [...] Repot at your own risk – *gleep*! [...]

  10. #10 pokok
    on Apr 28th, 2007 at 9:48 am


    just wanted to say that the comments here gave me a huge boost of courage to transplant my sunflower seedlings. they were outgrowing the pot and were getting really floppy. transplanted them a few days ago, and they look super super healthy now! new leaves and all :)

    hope yours are looking great!

  11. #11 inadvertentgardener
    on Apr 28th, 2007 at 11:04 am

    Pokok, I’m so glad you were successful! Congratulations — sounds like you’re going to be in for some beautiful flowers. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. #12 Tracey
    on Jun 15th, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I potted some sunflower seeds & I’ve just re potted them for the 2nd time. At the moment their 3ft tall & will probably reach about 5/6 ft. They are the first things I’ve ever grown & I must say they have been very easy. Can’t wait to see the end results.

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