Tuk majority of flowering and foliage plants art- grown not in the border soil but in containers of one kind or another. The medium in which they grow has to provide food for the plant as well as anchorage, and the major elements and trace elements have to be present in the right proportions to produce a plant that will remain healthy for weeks, months, and even years. During this time it may be subjected to the equivalent of several hundred millimetres of rainfall, and ordinary garden soil cannot satisfactorily stand up to these artificial conditions; in many cases garden soil completely loses its structure within a short time and sets hard on drying. The plant first begins to look off colour; later the leaves start to yellow and flower buds drop off. It the plant is removed from its container the roots may look dark brown, have a pungent smell, and show no sign of active growth. The plant dies mainly as a result of a lack of available food and of air to the roots.
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