Repotting plants is an integral part of potted plants’ care. It keeps them happy, healthy and, at times, is the only way to keep them alive.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about repotting:
Should I repot plants after buying?
How does repotting plants benefit them?
When to repot plants after buying?
Do all plants need repotting?
How to tell if a plant needs repotting?
How to safely repot your plants?
This article will answer all these questions and lay to rest any doubts you might have about the repotting.
Do Newly Purchased Plants Need Repotting?
They usually don’t. Most newly purchased plants are young and come in pots that have ample room for future growth. That said, there are certain instances where you should repot even newly bought plants. These are:
The original pot doesn’t sit well with your exterior or interior plant design scheme. You may not like the pot’s shape or color, or want to place the plant in a decorative pot.
The soil is poor or unsuitable for the particular plant. Commercial nurseries often use a generic soil mix for most plants. Plants with different soil requirements may fail to achieve optimal growth with such soil mixes.
At times, the root ball is sticking out and the soil looks moldy.
In all aforementioned cases, it’s best to repot.
The soil in the original pot is heavily infested by insects such as ants or mealybugs. Aside from calling in an interior plant service, repotting is the simplest, quickest solution in such situations.
The original pot doesn’t have adequate drainage holes. In such cases, you can either drill 4-8 holes at the bottom or repot the plant.
How Does Repotting Plants Benefit Them?
The occasional move to a different pot involves some big benefits for your plants. These are:
Improved water absorption and retention
More room for the development of the plant’s root system
Reduced risk of soil compaction. Soils whose particles are pressed close together have a small number of pores, few large pores and high density. This reduces the rate of drainage and the infiltration of water
Rejuvenated plants that grow faster and larger
When to Repot Plants?
Spring is the best time for repotting plants both newly bought and old. It’s the juncture where dormant plants begin to grow afresh. A new pot, more spacious and full of nutrients gives them the ideal boost. They’ll also benefit from the favorable weather conditions.
But what if the soil is too heavily infested? What if the plant has stopped growing? Should you still wait till spring?
In such situations, you can repot plants even in the summer and early fall. If there’s a need to repot in fall, make sure you do so at least 3-4 weeks before the first frost.
Do All Plants Need Repotting?
Most container-grown plants require repotting at some stage of their life. Succulents and other plants with smaller root systems require repotting less frequently than others.
It also depends on the plant’s spread and the plant it’s originally planted in. Some do fine even in tight growing spaces of small to average sized pots. Plants that are more vigorous and have a greater spread invariably need to be repotted quicker than the rest.
If you don’t want to repot the plants too frequently, find out the particular variety’s mature spread. Next, repot it in a container large enough to comfortably accommodate it at its largest.
How to Tell If a Plant Needs Repotting?
Here are the telltale signs:
Roots emerging from the drainage holes at the pot’s bottom
Roots are visible at the top of the soil line
Reduced water absorption. When you water the plant, most of it runs right through the pot.
Roots growing in a circular pattern
The pot is cracked or deformed
The potted plant is top-heavy; keeps on falling down
The soil remains dry despite regular watering
The plant is growing slowly or has stopped growing altogether
How to Safely Repot Your Plants?
When repotting plants, it’s essential to check whether they’ve become pot-bound. Roots growing out of the drainage holes, consistently dry soil and poor growth rate are some common indicators.
Examining the roots when you remove the plant from the pot will give you a conclusive answer. Pot-bound plants have their roots growing in dense circles around the root ball. You’ll find it difficult to spot potting mix at the root ball’s bottom.
If you don’t want the plant to grow larger, you can replant it into the same or a similar sized pot. Make sure to remove the outer parts of the roots using a clean, sterile blade. Next, replant using an organically rich potting mix.
If, however, you want the plant to grow larger, you should repot it in a larger pot. It’s a simple process. Just follow these steps:
Water the plant thoroughly while it’s still in the original pot. Allow it to sit in for an hour.
If the new pot is made of clay, you’ll need to soak it in water overnight. This will ensure the pot doesn’t absorb the moisture meant for the soil.
Plastic pots require no such preparations.
Add some potting mix to the new pot. Remove the plant from the original pot and carefully place it into the new pot. Make sure the root ball’s top rests just below the new pot’s lip.
Fill in with more potting mix. Leave a separation of 1 inch between the top of the container and the surface of the potting mix.
Gently pat the top of the soil, so it’s wrapped firmly around the plant. Water thoroughly and move the new pot to the desired spot.
Repotting plants takes little time and effort, but a good measure of care. Following the tips shared in this article will help you do it right and rejuvenate your favorite potted plants.