At some point during a plants lifetime it will eventually need re-potting. As the plant gets larger its not a simple matter of flipping the pot upside down and giving it a few taps. Agave growers just have to adapt and overcome when it comes to handling big plants.
Repotting Agave Difformis.
This has grown into a large specimen and was in need of repotting. At each watering, the water, and feed, was finding a channel straight through to the bottom and out the drainage holes. The leaves had taken on a lighter shade of green which is probably a good indicator that the plant is being starved of nutrients. I also found a plastic label embedded in the compost indicating that this was grown from seed sown in 2002.
The initial plan was to lay the pot on its side on the workbench and pull the root ball out. The pups had caused the pot to bulge out on both sides and there was no easy way to remove the root ball from the pot.
The plant is more valuable than the pot so I used a hack saw to relieve some of the pressure on both sides. A few good tugs and out it came.
Having the root ball on the workbench allowed me to lay it on its side without the leaves touching the ground.
Completed using a slightly deeper pot.
Some pups for potting up later
Repotting Agave Heteracantha.
This plant was in need of fresh growing medium and was in need of re-potting. I decided to root prune it to limit the increase in the size of the pot needed. I used a deeper pot of the same diameter.
Root ball needed cutting back to remove the tangled mass of roots. The root ball came out of the pot fairly easily this time. I laid the pot on its side, put a choker sling around the base and used an assistant to pull on that while I wrestled the pot way. The roots had found their way back to the top of the pot. This may be a symptom of insufficient watering too often.
Plant laid on its side to allow the pruning to begin.
Tangled roots removed. After transferring this to the new pot using a relatively dry potting mix , it will not be watered for a week to allow any damaged roots to heal.
Repotting Agave Lophantha.
This plant had been in the same shallow pot for more than 5 years and had spent the last three winters outside with minimal shelter. The previously used method of laying the pot on its side with the leaves hanging over the side of a workbench was not going to work in this instance. This time, I balanced the pot on top of an up turned bucket and then placed a choker sling around the trunk and secured it to an improvised beam. It was then a simple matter or raising the beam a few inches and kicking the bucket to one side to leave the plant suspended.
The pot came away easily.
This was originally potted up using a peat and pearlite mix and was now a soggy unpleasant mess following a few weeks of heavy rain. The soil didn't smell too sweet either so it all needed to be removed. I no longer use peat in any of my potting mixes for this very reason. The excess of dead roots and runners were removed and the remaining soil was blasted away with a jet of water.
A bit or further root pruning and hung up to dry. At the end of the day I put it back into the empty pot and left it in the greenhouse to fully dry out.
And the usual pups for potting up later. These were trimmed then given a good wash and left on the greenhouse bench to dry out.
Repotting Agave Lophantha #2.
This plant had been in the same pot for about 3 years. The plant was easily removed from the pot by laying it on its side on the workbench and easing it out slowly. It was a bit too heavy to place in its new pot by hand though.
A lifting frame was constructed using some old pallet wood around the lower part of the trunk.