When is it time to re-pot a houseplant?
I look for several signs.
The pot is dirty looking or looks like it need replaced. Plants need clean pots to stay healthy. Buildup of lime from water or unhealthy looking soil is a good indication that your plant may need a new planter.
Check you plant to see if it is root bound. Root bound plants clearly show the roots and they are often tangled together.
If a plant needs watered again after being watered within 3 days after a thorough watering, it is time to re-pot. A plant that can go 3 days or more without more water has enough soil to keep the plant happy.
I usually repot my plants every year or two. It gives me the chance to check their roots and drainage and to add a new look to a plant with a new pot.
Guidelines for re-potting
- Use a pot that is only one size larger. Pots that are too large can cause the soil to retain too much moisture and cause root rot.
- Loosen the roots surrounding the outer root ball so that the roots will expand into the fresh soil.
- Use a porous, peat-based potting mix. I also add pebbles to the bottom of my pots to make sure they drain well. Damp soil is responsible for more plant diseases and insect problems than any other reason.
- Make sure the top of the root ball is at least an inch below the rim of the new pot. This gives room for watering and soil will not fall out of the pot.
- Do not add soil to the top of the root ball. This will cut the air from the plant roots. I will often take a fork and lightly scratch the soils surface. This will help aerate the soil
- Water the soil thoroughly right after repotting. I usually add a watered down solution of plant food after repotting to encourage the plant to adapt to it’s new home and to encourage new growth.
If your plant has had any insect problems or been a little under the weather at the time of re-potting I would suggest adding a plastic bag to the top of your plant. Put in small stakes to keep the plastic off the plant, and tie the bag loosely around the pot. This will create a greenhouse effect and nurture the plant. Any plant I have had that seems to be a little sluggish has thrived with this extra attention. I will use the greenhouse environment for about a week them remove it.
If you have had any problems with a plant just drop me a line and I may have a solution.