All about Repotting
Nov 05,2021 | Cassandra Low
Plants typically need to be repotted every 12 to 18 months, depending on how actively they are growing. Repotting does not necessarily mean changing a plant’s current planter, but rather, changing its soil or potting mix. Fresh soil means new nutrients for your plants to continue growing healthily!
When should I repot my plants?
If you‘re unsure when you should be repotting your plants, check out for these signs:
- Roots are growing through the drainage hole at the bottom of the planter
- Roots are pushing the plant up, out of the planter
- Plant is growing slower than normal
- Plant is extremely top heavy, and falls over easily
- Plant dries out more quickly than usual, requiring more frequent watering
- Aboveground parts of plant take up more than three times the pot space
- Noticeable salt and mineral build up on the plant or planter
How to repot your plants
To many, repotting your plants can sound tricky, but here’s a few tips that you can follow:
- Gently remove plant from its current pot
Turn your new plant sideways, hold it gently by the stems or leaves, and tap the bottom of its current pot until the plant slides out. Some plants are pretty firmly attached to their pots and it can take a while to loosen them. Just keep at it until the soil slides out when you tip the pot on its side. As it comes out, gently grasp around the soil or at the base of the plant to steady it as you slide the pot off.
- Loosen the roots
It is important that the roots are free to grow and absorb water, air, and nutrients. Start by gently massaging the roots at the bottom until they loosen from their coils. You can also prune off any threadlike roots that are extra long, however, do ensure to leave the thicker roots at the base of the foliage. If your plant is root bound – the roots are growing in very tight circles around the base of the plant – unbind the roots as best you can and give them a trim.
- Remove old potting mix and add new potting mix
Remove about one third or more of the potting mix surrounding the plant. As it grows, your plant may remove some of the nutrients in the current mix. Pour a layer of fresh potting mix into the new planter and pack it down, removing any air pockets. The goal is to create crevices for the extra water to pool into, away from your plant’s roots. Make sure the soil fills all the empty spaces in the pot. When the pot is full, gently pat down the soil to firm the plant into place. You can also lightly tap the bottom of the pot on the table or floor to help settle the soil.
- Place your plant into a new pot
Set your plant that you removed from the grow pot on top of the fresh layer of mix in the new planter, making sure it's centered, then add potting mix around the plant until it is secure. Be sure not to pack too much soil into the planter, as you want the roots to breathe.
- Water and care for your plant
As your plant adjusts, it will require a little extra water, this remember to water frequently. The roots may begin to grow and will also need the extra moisture. During this sensitive period, keep away from full sunlight and hold off on fertilizing for about a month.
Give your plants the best shot at survival and rest assured you’re repotting correctly. Happy gardening!