Sooner or later, repotting houseplants becomes necessary, and winter is a great time to do it!
Plants should be moved into larger containers as they grow. Larger pots allow for more soil to nourish the root systems. Unless more space is provided for the plant’s roots, they become root bound. That is, the roots of the plant become cramped and form a tightly packed mass that inhibits growth.
How Do You Know if a Plant Needs to be Repotted?
The most obvious sign that your plant needs repotting is when you can see roots on the surface of the soil or emerging from the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. Also, if the plant seems to have slowed growth, it has likely become root bound.
Turn the pot on its side and ease the plant out of its container. We are checking to see if the roots are coiling around the bottom of the pot. If so, it is definitely time to repot.
When to Repot a Plant
Many indoor plants like to be repotted prior to a new growing season, which is another reason to repot now before the spring season.
Young, actively growing houseplants should be moved into a slightly larger pot with fresh potting mix once a year. Repotting houseplants that are large, such as ficus tree, or slow-growing plants can be repotted every two years or when they seem to outgrow their pots or look top heavy. If a plant is thriving, you can assume it is happy in its pot.
How to Choose a Container
Do not oversize pots when repotting. A good rule of thumb is to increase the size of the existing pot by 2 inches. A pot that is too large gives the roots too much space to grow into. The top of the plant won’t grow until its roots begin to fill the container.
Also, if the new pot is too big it can hold extra water and cause root rot. While we are on the subject, make sure the pot has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. To protect your carpet or hardwood floors select a saucer that compliments your new pot.
Come see SJN’s selection of pottery and let us help you choose a pot that is complimentary to the décor in your home and the size appropriate for your plant.
How to Repot a Plant
- Remove the plant from the existing pot by turning it on its side and ease the plant gently from the pot. If the plant won’t budge, you may have to tap the bottom of the pot to loosen it. Or, slide a knife or trowel along the side of the pot, taking care not to damage the root ball.
- If the roots are coiled, pull them apart, and prune them before potting. Pruning will stimulate new root growth and help the plant establish in its new container.
- Add potting mix to the bottom of the new container. Center the plant in the container, and then fill the sides of the plant with additional mix. Tamp it down with your fingers, especially around the sides of the pot.
- Water thoroughly to moisten roots and settle the potting mix. Add more mix if needed.
After Repotting Houseplants Care Tips
Repotting houseplants is stressful for them, and they need time to recuperate. It is not unusual for the plant to go into shock after repotting. Here are a few tiops to help plants adjust:
- Do not expose to direct sun right away, because harsh sun can be too harsh on a weakened plant.
- Keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy. If you notice that the leaves are limp, the plant is not getting enough water. If the leaves turn yellow, it’s getting too much water.
- High humidity can help a newly repotted plant recover. You can add humidity by using a humidifier, misting the plants, or setting pebbles in their saucer and fill it with water (this keeps the plant from sitting directly in the water).
Now that’s ‘advice you can grow with’!