Today, your advice to my readers.

Here’s the email I had gotten in the past with lots of houseplant questions:

>>>>“Remember me? 🙂

Well an update and then questions: All the plants are doing well. I need to take updated pictures to show the progress they’ve made. The bromeliad flower is all dried up, despite watering the vase, so I figure it’s just part of the life cycle (or perhaps I didn’t water it enough…) 🙂 Anyway, there are 2 pups growing so, it must still be doing well. 
Now I come to you because I have taken the plants that were my mom’s and am trying to find homes for them. Over the past months, there has been some inconsistent watering and quite a few are struggling. She has quite a few pothos with some really long vines, most of which the leaves have died off and its just a long empty vine. What is the best way to trim this? Since there are a few that are struggling, is it bad to combine some of the plants into one pot? There are also a few arrowhead plants. Same questions for those. Also with the arrowhead, some of the segments (for lack of a better term) have broken off. What is the best way to start the segments/shoots in their own pot? I’ve tried putting them in water to see if they started growing roots, but they have just died.
Finally, there is an aloe vera pot that has done the exact opposite and is a crazy mass now. What is the best way to separate these?
I’m hoping to repot most of these in the coming week. Any help is greatly appreciated. I’ve attached a picture of the mess i’m working with. Any tips on soil types to purchase?
And the plants:

Good To Grow, The Plant Lady Chronicles, reader photo

Since you guys are so smart, I asked what advice you would’ve given.

Let’s see how you answered:

Martha from Plowing Through Life wrote, “A lot of advice can be given here, but I’ll just add a couple of things. 1) Fresh, well-draining soil and 2) Pots that are the right size.

Some of the plants look like they’re in pots that are too big for them and should be downsized. One plant looks like it’s crowded and might need a little more room.

Plus (I know, I said I’d only add a couple of things)…

I think I see one plant that has a plastic lining in the basket it’s growing in. If there’s no drainage, get rid of the plastic, and place the plant in another pot with proper drainage. It will be forever grateful!

And the trailing plants look like they could use a good haircut :)

Okay, that’s it for me!”

Kim wrote, “I would combine the Pothos plants together in one pot, change out the old soil, and trim back the bare stems. I have never had any difficulty rooting Arrowhead clippings in water, so not sure why they are dying on her when she attempts to do this. I might ask more questions regarding this issue. That Aloe plant looks amazing though. I would personally be afraid to mess with it since it is thriving. Then again, my experience has not been good when I have tried to split up some of my own Aloes in the past, so I am interested in hearing your advice on this one.”

Ginny Burton, of Burton Optician in Washington DC, wrote, “Is that papyrus in the back of the white wicker basket? If so, it’s going to need a lot more water than the others and should be potted up separately. As for the aloes, I would leave them alone, but turn them so that they start growing up straighter–they look like they’ve been facing the light for a long time without being repositioned.”

And now, what I actually wrote back to her:

>>>>”With the Pothos, yes, you should trim those long pieces and then root them in water. When the cuttings have rooted, you should plant them together so you have a nice full plant. It’s ok to take all those plants and combine them into one big pot – they’ll look healthier and fuller. The same is true of the Arrowhead plants – you can combine them into one pot. They are fragile and as you know, their stems break easily. You can try rooting the broken pieces off in water but from my experience sometime they root, sometimes they don’t. You could try and experiment with rooting some in water, some in moist vermiculite and see which way is best.

The Aloe plant can be divided easily. If you dump the pot out, you’ll see that pieces will just break off and you can plant them in new containers. You may want to use some for gifts or else you’ll have a hundred Aloe plants! Once they are out of the current container, you’ll see how easy it is to separate them. Use high-quality potting soil from your local nursery (like FoxFarm or Happy Frog), and not the soil they sell at the big box stores (because they leave those out in the rain and they get infected with fungus gnats).

That’s ok about the Bromeliad – that’s what they do, dry up. Turn your attention to the pups – that’s the cycle of life for Bromeliads.

If you’re looking to give some away, try a church. Most churches have the space for plants, and people willing to care for them.
Hope that helps!”>>>>

What’s amazing to me is how we all saw different problems and solutions. I guess that’s what happens when there are lots of questions thrown at you at once.

Martha, I think your advice about the pot size was excellent. I didn’t even think to tell her that. And good job on the well draining soil, too. And I didn’t notice the plant with the plastic lining so that was a another great score for you there, too.

Kim, I think it’s cool we both told her to group her Pothos plants together. I’ve had mixed results trying to root the Arrowheads. Maybe you’re just a natural with them. I’m surprised by your difficulties with Aloes. They’re so resilient. I would urge you to try again. Anyway, great advice overall, thank you!

Ginny, again, I’m amazed. I don’t remember ever even looking at the plant in the back. And you’re right about the Aloe – it doesn’t need to be repotted necessarily, but if she’s going to keep them in that container, she should turn them. Excellent advice.

I remember writing that email, and I was mostly concerned about how she might find them new homes. I’ll reiterate – churches are great for gifting plants. Especially big plants that have outgrown your home. Most churches have space for large plants, and people who can care for them. Otherwise, see if your local nursery is interested in adopting them, they should be able to resell them.

Thank you ladies, for your fine advice. That was cool.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some puzzler action. If you haven’t already taken a guess, you have until tonight at midnight MST (that’s 2am EST) to do so. Leave a comment here or on my facebook wall.

Hope to see you back here.