Uprooting a plant and shipping it in a box across the country causes the plant to stress out. Heat, temperature variations and rot can take their toll on it. Here are some tips on how to give your new plant the best possible chance of recovery.
- Before you receive your plant, make sure you know what kind of conditions it needs to grow in. Find out what it’s been growing in, and try to mimic that environment as much as you can. This will minimize stress on the plant, and instead of it using its energy to try to adapt to the new environment, it’ll start growing right away.
- Once you get your plant, make sure you remove it from the bag as soon as possible. Rinse the plant out in room temperature water and get rid of any rotting leaves and roots. The rhizome is what’s important. Even if all you’re left with is a speck of rhizome, there is a chance the plant will come back. I’ve had several plants that did not do well in shipping, and all I was left with was a peppercorn sized peice of rhizome. In almost all instances, with a little TLC, the small bit put on new growth and eventually recovered.
- Next, soak it for an hour or so in room temperature water that’s got a very dilute mixture of vitamins and hormones. This will help the plant along in a speedy recovery. Personally, I use a very dilute mixture of Super Thrive and K-L-N Liquid Rooting Hormone (a Dyna-Grow product). This gives the plant a little helping hand.
- Plant it in its pot ASAP. Try to keep the crown just above the water level, especially if you don’t have too many roots to begin with.
- As the plant starts to put out new growth, the older leaves may die back somewhat. That’s due to the plant tryinng to pull nutrients out from the older leaves, canabalizing itself so that it can put out new roots and leaves. Feeding the plant a Nitrogen rich fert (a dilute mixture, but heavier on the N side) helps. Remove old leaves once they begin to rot.
- Don’t give up! Sometimes the plants will melt back completely – the pot may appear completely barren, for weeks or even months. Then all of a sudden you’ll be surprised to see a plantlet emerge. I’ve had that happen on numerous occasions! Its very satisfying to see a plant recover from a tiny little nub to a flowering specimen!