Still potting auriculas.

Having just launched our new site we were delighted to see the first auricula orders coming in, and it seemed timely to show the steps taken to get here. 

Auriculas are surprisingly hardy and easy to grow, but do require a little tender loving care to keep them looking good. 

If growing in pots the first rule is to repot annually. After the stresses of summer it is quite normal for plants to look tired and it is an opportunity to tidy plants up and check for any unwelcome visitors such as root aphid, vine- weevil, whitefly and red spider mite. Not as scary as it sounds, and an annual check will keep your plants looking good. September is a good time. Although this can be done earlier, newly potted plants are vulnerable in a hot spell.Firstly remove all the yellowing leaves. Spider mite can be an issue in the grey leaved varieties, but we just have to live with it and maintain good hygiene.

Next check the roots  and remove old compost. We find an old dinner fork helps.

Once all the compost is removed it is easy to identify 'offsets' at the side of the main plant and see whether these can be removed with a few small roots to increase your stock.The central plant can be repotted... gritty mixAnd the small offets pricked out either into small seed trays or small pots , depending on number. Plants with small root systems are happier this way and it saves on space.Small offsets produced now will develop good root systems by May/June next year and can be potted then and root through to display the following year. The larger main plant will be all the healthier for repotting and removing offsets will benefit flowering. After a few years your original plant will become old and woody, but producing new stock ensures a perfect display for years to come.

David ShealsEditor