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Everything You Need to Know About Repotting Houseplants


Everything You Need to Know About Repotting Houseplants

How to repot plants can be daunting, especially if you are a beginner. Luckily, we have a few tips to help make it a success. From choosing the right pot and soil, and giving you a straightforward step-by-step process, this article has you covered. Let’s dive in. 

How often should you repot plants: Signs it is time to do it

  • Roots coming out of the pot’s bottom

Look at the pot’s bottom. If the roots are coming out of the drainage hole, they have outgrown the current pot; hence, the plant needs repotting to have more room to thrive. Roots can also circle at the bottom or top of the pot. It is another sign you need to repot your houseplant.

When roots outgrow the pot, they lose their effectiveness. They will not take up crucial nutrients and water. And if they are entangled, they will inhibit smooth water flow. As such, the plant will gradually be deprived of nutrients, leading to ultimate death.

  • Your houseplant starts losing leaves

A houseplant that suddenly starts losing its leaves could be a sign it needs repotting. Leaves play a crucial role in the survival of a houseplant. Thanks to chlorophyll, they provide the plant with energy. Without them, the plant will have stunted growth.

When the roots come out of the pot or are bound together, your houseplant responds by shedding more leaves than usual. Once you rule out diseases and underwatering, it’s time to repot it.

  • The leaves are drooping

There are several causes of drooping leaves. If you underwater the houseplant, the leaves will gradually droop since they are not taking up enough water. Likewise, the plant might have excess water if you overwater, causing the leaves to wilt. If neither of the above is the cause of the leaves wilting, it’s a sign you need to repot your houseplant.

While several pot issues cause drooping, the common source is problems with the root system. When the roots cannot take up ample water and nutrients, the stem, branches, and leaves will not receive adequate water, causing the leaves to droop. Once you repot the houseplant in a larger pot, the plant will gradually regain its strength.

  • The houseplant leaves are yellow

Yellowing leaves are among the top houseplant problems. Many factors cause leaves to turn yellow, including inadequate sunlight, overwatering, underwatering, and diseases. One overlooked cause is the plant outgrowing the pot, warranting repotting.

Generally, yellowing leaves are a sign of nutrient-deficient soil. While fertilizing may solve the problem, it will be short-lived, especially if the plant has been sitting in the same pot for many years. The only solution is to repot your houseplant. The new soil will hold nutrients, allowing the plant to take up as much as it needs.

  • Your houseplant stops growing

It might be hard to identify a houseplant that is not growing since they tend to grow slowly. However, if it is clear it has stopped growing, it’s time to repot. As you’d guess, most houseplants are from the tropical family, growing in nutrient-rich soils. In fact, if left in the wild, they can grow to massive heights, such as trailing pothos.

While the confines of a pot do not meet such standards, the houseplant still grows, although slowly. Therefore, if your houseplant has stunted growth, you must use a larger pot. Stunted growth leads to many problems and death in the worst case.

  • Your houseplant is larger than the pot  
Often, houseplants outgrow their pots. They might continue growing, but they will encounter problems later. For example, they might struggle to stay upright. The rule of thumb is your plant should never be 3x larger than the pot.

Tools required for houseplant repotting

Before you begin repotting your plant, ensure you have the following tools:

  • New pot: The pot should be larger than the previous one. Ensure it has ample drainage holes.
  • Porous material: This is used to cover the drainage holes. You can use coffee filters for optimal results.
  • Potting mix: Ensure extra soil where you’ll add fertilizers and other nutrients.
  • Trowel: It helps you to remove the houseplant without killing it.
  • Gloves: For protecting your hands from dirt.
  • Scissors: They come in handy when you want to cut extra roots.
  • Watering can: You’ll use this to water the houseplant after repotting.

How to repot plants

Here are repotting plants tips you should follow:

  • Choose a larger pot
The main reason for repotting is that the houseplant has outgrown the current pot. A larger pot gives the roots ample space to grow, allowing for adequate nutrients and water takeup. Ensure the new pot is broader and deeper for optimal results. Also, ensure it has drainage holes. They prevent the houseplant from rotting.
  • Cover the drainage holes with a porous material
The porous material, like a coffee filter, prevents the new soil from passing through the drainage holes while still allowing the water to drain. If you use terracota as your porous material, ensure to soak it to avoid absorbing water from the new soil.
  • Pour soil into the new pot
Add a base layer of soil, allowing the roots to grow. Ensure to add enough so the plant can have ample space without causing it to spill over.
  • Water the houseplant  
Next, water the plant thoroughly. It will make removing it easier while maintaining the rootball’s compactness.
  • Remove the plant from the old pot

Without pulling the plant, turn the pot sideways, gently holding the stem, and tap at the pot’s bottom until it slides out. You might be forced to rotate the plant gently in both directions for it to loosen. You can also use a trowel or sharp knife to separate the houseplant and the pot. 

  • Loosen the roots  

Use your hands to loosen the rootball. Remove old roots that have outgrown the core rootball. Once you remove them, untangle the healthy roots so they can grow outward. 

  • Remove part of the old potting mix

Remove a third of the old potting mix. It is because it is deprived of nutrients, and the plant needs to fit in the pot with the new potting mix. 

  • Add the plant to the new pot  

Finally, hold your plant upright and press it firmly into the new pot. Add a layer of fresh soil around the plant until it is secure. Finally, water to allow it to settle. 

How often should you repot plants?

Typical houseplants require repotting every 12 to 18 months, depending on their growth rate. Slow growers such as snake plants or jade plants can sit in the same pot for many years. However, you need to replenish the soil with ample nutrients such as fertilizers. 

The best season to repot your plant is early spring and late summer. Plants tend to grow actively during this period, requiring more space and nutrients.

Should you water plants after repotting?

Wait for up to seven days to water a repotted plant. The seven days period allows any damaged roots during repotting to heal. Ensure to keep the plant in a shadier and cooler spot to avoid unnecessary stress. 

What is the purpose of repotting plants?

There are several repotting purposes among them:

  • Improving your home aesthetics  

Besides improving the houseplant’s health, repotting can beautify your spaces. For example, you can remove a plant from a boring container into a much more appealing one, which complements the aesthetic aspect of its surroundings. 

  • Potting divisions

As they grow larger, most houseplants afford you the luxury of dividing them into smaller ones. Each section is therefore planted in a new pot. As such, you’ll have many houseplants from the parent plant. You can then place the new pots in different rooms. 

  • Using a new potting mix

Often, diseases and pests infest soil, depriving it of its nutrients. It means you need to provide fresh soil that is rich in nutrients. This is where repotting comes in handy. You can remove the poor old soil, thoroughly clean the pot, and pour in the new soil. Alternatively, you can use a new pot altogether. 

  • Providing larger growing space

Another reason for repotting is to provide the houseplant with a larger growing space. As mentioned, houseplants outgrow their pots, causing the roots to grow outside the pot. It leads to stunted growth or death. Moving the plant to a larger pot allows the roots to grow, enabling the plant to thrive. 

Do your houseplants need repotting?

How to repot plants can be daunting, especially for novice growers. Roots can be damaged, and the rootball may disintegrate. Luckily, a release pot makes repotting a walk in the park. 

The modular design lets you release the plant seamlessly into a new pot with the rootball intact. Call us or visit our shop to get one today. 

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