Introduction: Re-Pot a Magical Bean

About: 16yr old entrepreneur and creator

If you looked at this Instructable and decided that the maker had been reading too many fairy tales, I don’t blame you! A Magical Bean (Castanospermum australe) is an incredibly fascinating plant that is native to coastal rainforests and beaches in the east of Australia and to the Pacific islands of Vanuatu and New Caledonia. And I have one (no giants at this stage though…). My mother picked up this plant, attracted by its unique name and appearance. Within a week I was its new owner (not that I minded!). I watched it growth – it would send out shoots, which would develop leaves, which would die. I was rather perplexed about this to say the least. By this stage, after successfully raising several other plants, I decided that I was not (as I had previously thought) a serial plant killer and could not work out why I was seeing a mass death of so many baby leaves. One day I just happened to turn the plastic pot which we had bought the plant in to see I tangle of root sticking out from the drainage holes! Horror of horrors! Who knows how long this poor thing had endured root cramp (for want of a more technical sounding name)! So, I replanted it in hope to help those little leaves to grow…happy planting!


Ø Magic bean plant that is in dire need of repotting

Ø Extra soil

Ø New pot

Ø Plastic spoon

Ø Butchers paper

Ø Paper towel

Ø Scissors

Step 1: Release the Plant From the Pot

This is really tricky to be honest! The plant was literally attached to the pot and, after much fruitless tugging and maneuvering, I was forced (against my will) to cut the plant free from the pot.

Step 2: Prepare the New Pot

To get the new pot ready for the magical bean, cut a quarter of the square of paper towel. Fold this into quarters until you have a smaller square again. Place this over the drainage hole. Why I do this is to stop dirt escaping with the water but still let the water through. Other people use little pieces of mesh, but I did not have any of this at hand, hence the reason.

Fill the pot 1/3 up with the new soil.

Step 3: In It Goes!

Now you have freed your plant from its prison, it is time to do the actual re-planting!

Place the magical bean on top of the soil already in the pot. Start spooning the extra soil in around it to fill in the gaps. You will notice that I did not try to free up roots much at all. To be honest, I would have had my mother told me (and she has X amount of years of experience as a floriculturist) not to. Why? I don’t know! You just don’t. Apparently.

Once you have filled in the gaps press down a little. This will help to ensure that there are no gaps left – expect the soil level to sink. Continue adding dirt until the soil level is flush with the edge of the pot.

Step 4: Water!

I always give my plants water directly after I have transplanted them. I don’t know whether I do this based on some advice I once received or whether it is just another idiosyncrasy I have…! I always water thoroughly – only stop when you see water leaking out the bottom.

Be careful when pouring in the water as the soil may rise and flow over the edge…speaking from experience!

Step 5: Clean Up

Possibly you thought, back a few steps, what a waste of a paper towel if you are only to use a quarter! This is where the rest comes in. If you are anything like me and just dump all this water onto the plant then wonder why dirt runs down the side, you use the rest of the paper towel to clean it all up. Otherwise, ensure that the top of your pot is clean.

Step 6: Admire!

Stand back and admire your newly potted magical bean! (and wait for giants, magical hens etc. to come down…) Hopefully, hopefully this will encourage it to grow those new leaves and keep them ALIVE!

(For more information on these wacky plants try here)