Re-Potting Best Practices

Re-Potting Best Practices

Re-Potting Best Practices

How to Repot your Plants

We all know that regularly watering, feeding, and pruning our houseplants keeps them healthy. But occasionally, the time comes for that most dreaded and messy of tasks; repotting! If you’ve been putting off repotting for a while, fear not! Our quick guide will help you achieve effortless transitions from pot to pot. 

Why do plants need repotting?

Over time, root systems outgrow their containers, becoming stifled and tangled. Transitioning to a larger pot gives roots more room to breathe and grow. That's not to say all plants need incrementally bigger pots. Some species actually like being slightly pot-bound. Similarly, if you’re happy with the current size of your plant, there’s no need to increase the pot size (Rhoades, 2021).

But providing more space is not necessarily the most important reason for repotting. Refreshing your plants’ soil is crucial for healthy growth. Over time, soil loses nutrients and becomes compacted, drying out faster and restricting airflow to the roots. So periodically replacing old soil with new, nutrient-rich soil will revitalise tired plants, even if you don’t increase the pot size (Anon, 2015). 


Signs your plant needs repotting 

A tangle of roots protruding from the pot’s drainage holes or above the soil’s surface is the clearest sign your plant has outgrown its home. Stunted growth and yellowing or wilted foliage (with no other signs of pests or disease) may indicate the soil has become devoid of nutrients and needs replacing. If your plant seems thirstier than usual, it's probably because the soil isn’t holding water effectively anymore (Kelly, 2007., Sears, 2021). Pot-bound plants may also become wobbly or unsteady as their foliage gets too heavy for their current pot to support. 

Step-by-step guide 

1. Repotting is best done in Spring so the roots will have lots of time to settle into their new space during the growing season. However, if Spring is not an option, re-potting can occur throughout the year – though best results will occur during the Springtime.

2. Select a pot only a size or two larger than the current pot. Oversized pots hold too much soil and thus too much water, leaving your plant susceptible to root rot. Make sure your new pot has plenty of drainage holes too!

3. Fill the bottom third of the new pot with fresh potting soil. Try to mimic your plants’ current substrate as closely as possible, adding extra draining material or organic matter if necessary. 

4. Now for the tricky bit. Gently tap or squeeze the sides and bottom of your plant’s current pot to loosen the soil. Turn it upside down and guide it out, taking care to support the stem and roots. If your plant is particularly big, you might want to ask a friend for help.

5. Give the plant a good old shake or a quick rinse to get rid of any old soil. This is a great chance to inspect the roots for signs of pests or disease. If the roots are severely compacted, gently tease them out to encourage them to spread in their new home.

6. Place your plant on the layer of soil in the new pot and fill around the root ball with more fresh soil until all roots are covered. Tap the soil down to get rid of any air pockets, but don’t completely compress the soil, your plant still needs to breathe!

7. Lastly, give your plant a generous drink. Then simply return your newly potted plant to its usual place, and watch it flourish in its new home! 

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