Home Gardening Tips How and When to Repot Houseplants

How and When to Repot Houseplants

by ThatWoW Editorial Team

Are you noticing an accelerated growth rate of your indoor plant? Are those leaves and branches all over the place? 

If you are nodding your head right now, it is probably one of those signs when your plant needs to be repotted. If you are familiar with plant parenthood, you might know why they need transplanting and yes, it is necessary. Indications like overgrowth, peaking roots, and similar things can help you judge the time for repotting.

Repotting doesn’t mean that you have to change the planter. Until the plant has a fresh potting mix, it is repotting whether you have changed its home or not.

Perks of soil change include room to breathe and nutrient boost. Take advantage of the peak blooming season like Spring, and repot your plants so that the growth can skyrocket without any hindrance.

Follow this easy guide which has step-by-step instructions that would help you in the damage-free transplanting because we cannot hurt our green friend, can we? 

When to Repot Your Plant?

Plants do show repotting signs, but these are rather tricky and you have to catch them quickly before any adverse effect begins. Repotting is not necessarily changing the planter, but the soil because a fresh soil comes with all the necessary nutrients. 

Plants often need replanting when the planter becomes too small for the roots to grow. In that case, you will either see that the roots are pushing through the drainage hole at the base of the planter or they might push the entire plant upwards. 

The plant becomes heavier at the top and takes up almost three times the pot space. The plant can fall over easily because of the weight and it would be very evident that it needs a bigger pot to sustain a good life. 

If you notice a slower growth rate than normal, except the winter dormancy, it is a sure sign that your plant needs repotting. It would also dry up easily and even frequent watering won’t be enough. You can also check for salts and minerals build up on the planter for signs of repotting. 

Though signs are important, you must consider the repotting season for every species. Early Spring is typically the best time to repot your plants due to its proximity to the growing season. Most plant species need a transplant every 12 to 18 months, depending on their growth. Avoid repotting in extreme weather, like scorching heat as it can add to the stress. 

How to Choose a Container?

They say ‘know before you grow’ and I cannot agree more! Choosing the right planter is very important because you are transplanting to provide your plant some fresh soil and in most cases, a new home. You must take care of the size, drainage, and material of your new planter before welcome your green friend there. 

Overgrown plants do look fresh and beautiful, but they can die eventually trying to fit into that small container or pot. As mentioned earlier, your plant will show signs readily if it requires a larger pot, namely a planter. Stack the larger planter with fresh potting mix and make it your new green thumb. 

I would recommend using a planter with good drainage so that the risk of root rot is eliminated once and for all. Though with little finesse, a planter without drainage can work, you might need a layer of lava rocks or pebbles to make the water drain. 

Lastly, while shopping for your new planter, do consider what is it made of. From wood to plastic, planters are made of several materials with varied pores. Ceramic or terracotta planters are best because they do not dry up too quickly. They are more porous than plastic and they don’t pollute the nature! You can also use fiberglass planters, you know if you are bothered about the weight of ceramic ones. 

How to Repot Your Indoor Plants?

So now, if you are up for a repotting, you must follow these steps carefully so that there is no damage to the plant, no matter what.

1. Provide some extra water to your plant for consecutive two days before your plan to re-pot. This will make the soil damp and ensure that the plant is hydrated enough. This will help you as you will be able to remove the plant gently and it won’t get hurt.

Though the techniques depend on the size and the degree of root bound, it is better if done with four hands rather than two. If the roots are high enough, use a butter knife or something blunt to loosen the soil around the perimeter. Once it is loose enough, ask your friend to hold the pot while you gently pull out the plant. 

2. Next, you need to take care of the roots once it is out. Shake the extra soil around its roots and be careful with the tender roots. Do clip off visibly damaged or rotten roots that might have turned black. You can also trim the high roots in case you are planting it in a smaller pot. 

3. Now we will be decorating the new home for our beloved green friend. If you are using the same pot this time, dump the remaining soil from it and clear the sediments with hot water. Make sure it is not damaged and has proper drainage. 

If you are using a new pot, be careful with the size. It can be larger than the former home but not more than 2 inches in diameter because unusual space can slow down growth and cause root rot. 

Since we are talking about indoor plants here, you might repot it into a container with no proper drainage. In that case, make a 0.5 inches layer of activated charcoal at the bottom of the container and then go for the layer of fresh potting soil. You can also use a layer pebbles at the pot base for better drainage because we know how important that is! 

4. Finally, welcome your plant in its brand new home and bring the warmth by filling in with soil until all the roots are covered. Ensure that there are no air pockets by firming the soil and applying just enough water to make the soil moist but not wet. 

Once you are done with the repotting, make yourself some warm coffee and relax because you have done a great job! 

Care for Plants After Repotting

Yes, the hard part is over but the job is not done yet! Plants ten to enter into a state of shock after you disturb their roots, but it is completely normal. No matter what you see, there must not be a routine watering for about a week after replanting.

The damaged roots, if present, need some time to heal and water won’t help them but placing them a cool and shady place would. The leaves might wilt or look pale, don’t worry, it is just the recovery period for them. Say no to fertilizers for about six weeks as well since it can damage the roots.

If the leaves do not recover after a week or 10 days, the transplant shock is severe in that case. Shift the plant to its original inhabitance zone since it is more adapted to those conditions. Make sure the lighting and temperature are optimized according to the species. Trim all the dead leaves and wilted stem ends to make room for new leaves. For better recovery from stress, give your plant a dose of water-soluble all-purpose plant food. Don’t lose faith and do your best because the transplant stress is not long-lasting in most cases! 

Repotting is a part of horticulture, and it is no less than an art. You can get as crafty as you want when it comes to gardening and it feels so good to see them grow. Keep working on your plant knowledge and in no time, you would understand your plant’s feelings. So, if you see the signs, do the needful right away!


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