How to repot house plants in this handy guide
Are your house plants overgrown, or do you feel they have spent enough time in their current homes? If your current plant is drooping or overgrown, it might indeed be time you repot your indoor plants.
Because proper repotting is key to keeping your plants happy and healthy, this handy guide shares when and how to report your precious house plants, with a few nifty tips and tricks in addition.
When is the right time to repot?
So you want to know: when is the best time to repot houseplants? One of the most obvious signs to help you know when to re-pot is if your plant starts shooting roots through a drainage hole or two!
You’ll know it’s time if their roots are pushing the plant up and almost out of the planter. When your plant is showing slow growth or is top-heavy, it’s similarly showing you that it wants to be repotted. These are all sure signs for repotting houseplants.
Moreover, you’ll know it’s time to repot it the plant requires more water than usual. You might also have noticed a salt and mineral build-up on the plant or planter, or you might not have repotted the plant for quite a while. Obviously and surely then, it’s time to get your repotting game on.
What materials do you need to repot your indoor plants?
- Your plant that is in need of more space.
- A new pot that’s a good 2 inches larger than your old one in diameter.
- High-quality potting soil or gravel is required.
- Some newspapers, magazines or materials to keep your working area clean.
1. Remove the plant from its old pot
First of all, be sure to water the plant a day or two before you plan on repotting it. This will make the soil softer for easier handling. Then, you want to remove your plant from its pot. To do this in the right way, you want to turn your plant sideways.
Then, hold the plant upside down by the stems or leaves, and gently tap the bottom of the pot until the root ball starts to reveal itself. During this process, it’s important to be gentle in handling the plant.
2. Loosen up the roots
Secondly, you want to loosen up the plant’s roots and ready it for transplanting. During this phase, you can prune off any elongated roots that are overgrown to help promote the future growth process.
When doing this, be sure to leave thicker roots at the base of the plant itself. If you are dealing with very tight roots, gently unbinding the roots and giving them a trim is the best thing you can do.
3. Remove the old potting mix
For the next step, it’s important to remove about one-third or more of the old potting mix and then replace it with a new potting mix in the next step. Over time, nutrients get dissolved and soaked up, hence you need to re-pot with the fresh potting mix at hand. This brings us to the next step.
Note that when the time to re-pot a houseplant comes it can be quite stressful on the plant. You need to know that in order for your indoor houseplants to continue thriving, they must be repotted into new and larger volumes of soil.
4. Add fresh soil
Now, it’s time to pour a layer of soil into your empty planter’s bottom. Make sure to cover the bottom by a few inches in order to give the roots enough growing space. If your pot/planter doesn’t have drainage holes, be sure to layer the bottom with lava rocks or gravel.
Placing some gravel on the bottom will ensure proper water drainage through the roots and out of the pot. The importance of great this should not be underestimated in the process of repotting most houseplants.
5. Add your plant
Now that you’ve done the preparations, it’s time to carefully set your plant on top of the fresh layer of mix in the planter. When doing this, make sure the roots are centred while adding more potting mix around it.
When securing the plant in the potting mix, make sure to keep treading lightly by leaving enough air around the roots by not pushing the soil to settle too hard.
6. Water and enjoy
All that’s left to do now is to even out the mixture of soil and/or compost on top and water thoroughly. It’s worth noting that a freshly repotted plant does not need to be fed fertilizer, but we’ll give you more details in the “tip” section below.
Choosing the right pot
Pots and houseplants are available in all sorts of sizes. If your existing pot has had a good life, then maybe it’s time for a new pot. Choose a nice decorative pot or plastic pot to your liking. With that said, you usually only need four or five different sizes to complete the lifespan of an indoor plant.
The most common sizes used are 6 cm, 8 cm, 13 cm, 18 cm, and 25 cm. When looking for a new container, you can choose from different plants and pot sizes from our indoor pot selection without a hassle.
When choosing a new pot, you will want to ensure there’s enough space between the rim of the pot and the surface of the compost. As the size of your plants’ increases, the size of your pot should similarly increase. The roots should not be outgrowing the pot – and if they are, you know it’s time to opt for a bigger pot.
What’s in the perfect potting mix?
Without proper potting mixed with fresh soil, your plant roots can’t access any nutrients and won’t be able to thrive.
The ideal potting medium can be broken down into a few essential ingredients. It needs to include an ingredient that helps the medium retain water and one that improves drainage.
There should be an ingredient that adds nutrition. Also, one that creates space in the medium to allow air to move throughout.
Next off, you need something to properly anchor the plant and provide structure. In this regard, it’s wise to use ingredients that serve a multi-purpose.
For example, vermiculite is a great addition for means of improving both drainage and water retention. As for the most common and important components to have in your indoor potting mix, they are summarized as follows.
Coco coir, made from shredded coconut, is a great addition for providing ample air, proper drainage, and good water retention. Next, you’ll want to add some compost. Typically defined as a waste product, this type of broken-down organic matter is like gold to potting soil.
As for fertilizer such as peat moss, this too can do wonders for larger plants and water retention. You can even harvest your own moss from a nearby forest or even your own garden if you’re lucky.
In addition to these materials, you’ll also find components such as rice hulls, worm castings, sand, topsoil, kenaf fibre, volcanic rock such as akadama, grit, wood charcoal, and pumice. These are all wonderful additions to incorporate if you’re into creating your own potting mix.
More pro tips
We’ve discussed what you can do before changing your plant’s pot, like watering the plant beforehand so the soil becomes more manageable. But when you re-pot your houseplant, it’s important to know what to do after the repotting has taken place as well.
In this regard, be sure to give the newly repotted plant some time to rest, by keeping it out of direct sunlight. To further ensure healthy roots, be sure to withhold fertilizer for at least a month after repotting.
Repotting your lovely range of houseplants can be tricky, and sometimes it doesn’t work out the way you had hoped. Where plant shock is a common occurrence post-repotting, it’s quite normal to notice a few leaves fall off, wilt, or yellow in the days to come. Don’t let that put you down, though!
This does not automatically mean there is any issue of concern. Your plant may just need some time to adjust to its new habitat. Repotting can feel daunting if you’re not in the routine of doing it, but it’s super important to the overall health of your plants.
Be sure to keep these pro tips in mind the next time your plant needs a new growing space, and you’ll soon notice new and beautiful growth. Happy repotting!