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So I have some Venus fly trap seeds growing in a 72-cell germ station. The cells are pretty small and I will have to repot soon. Whenever I have read about repotting, I always hear it is best to try to get all the old soil off the root system before repotting it. My question is why? Why can't I just scoop the entire soil block and plant from the cell, not clean off any of the soil, and then just put the hunk of soil with the plant into a bigger pot with more soil? I ask because I hear of people damaging/killing their plant in the process of cleaning the plant of its 'old' soil, and don't want to do this if I don't have to. Hopefully this is not an ignorant question.

From https://www.flytrapcare.com/venus-fly-trap-soil :

"Once you have the old soil and plants free from the original pot, start breaking away the soil from the roots. Do this very gently and methodically to be sure not to tear or otherwise damage any of the roots. You can also simply dunk the entire soil ball into clean water (rain, reverse osmosis or distilled water) and swirl it around to release the soil."

From http://venusflytrap.info/venus-fly-trap-plant-transplant/ :

"The roots of a Venus Flytrap can break fairly easily, so be careful not to pull on them too much. Gentle taps on the soil are often all that is required to remove most of the soil."

and

"The Venus Flytrap can be soaked and rinsed in water in order to remove stubborn soil and to expose the rhizome so that it can be cleaned of any dead leaves and tissue. Small scissors and tweezers (forceps) are very handy for this cleaning."

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I have no idea how you've managed to find only references that suggest this "scorched earth" approach to repotting - which is only appropriate (IMHO) when you are trying to salvage plants with soil disease issues (and not that great then - vegetative propagation from above the soil line is a path with greater chance of success in that case.)

"Cleaning the soil off" is guaranteeing massive root damage (you may not see it, but you'll certainly be damaging/removing the all-important feeder roots - the very fine root hairs that actually take up nutrients/water.)

I would question any additional advice you've gotten from these sources, and not "clean off" the roots when you repot; and look for better sources of information.

  • I have seen this in commercial magazines that "encourage" removing 1/3rd the roots, or leaving behind that much and other crazy ideas. Not a fan, never do it, unless plant is diseased or the roots fall off accidentally during removal from old pot. – Srihari Yamanoor Jun 24 '15 at 7:06
  • I added the websites I read. Mind you I am looking up how to repot venus fly traps not how to replant plants in general, maybe that led me to these references. I tried reading through the websites again and still fail to find any reasoning behind cleaning off the soil, but if someone else comes up with something let me know. – TheBlindSpring Jun 24 '15 at 21:28
  • I agree...unless you've had disease, I think this advice is way over the top. Were your plants planted in sterilized potting soil or garden soil? If sterilized potting soil and no apparent disease, I wouldn't disturb the roots at all! Just add sterilized potting soil to your new pot and plant with the crown of the plant an 1" below the pot's rim. Make sure you do not use rocks or gravel for 'drainage' at the bottom of the pot as this actually inhibits proper drainage. Keep airspace between the bottom of the pot and the surface it sits upon using pot feet or tiles. – stormy Jun 24 '15 at 23:22

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