It’s exciting to bring home a new houseplant, especially in the winter when we need to be surrounded by all the green growth we can get. But many wonder if they should repot their new houseplant or leave it in the plastic pot it was grown in. The answer depends on what type of plant you’ve purchased, how long you expect to have it, and how you want your houseplants to look.
Some plants aren’t expected to be long-lived, inside or outdoors. We know, for example, that pansies will flower all spring but be finished by mid-summer. We don’t expect them to last all summer because in the heat of July, they usually die. Similarly, some houseplants are purchased for their seasonal flowers not their longevity. We love the various types of primrose, for example, for bringing color and fragrance into our homes, but we accept that after they finish flowering the plant goes into the compost. They are lift-our-hearts-and-spirits for the moment plants, not grow-for-years selections. Such seasonal selections can be left in the pot that they came in, and slipped into a more decorative container if desired.
Other plants we know (or hope!) will be with us for years to come. These may not be root bound yet, so they might not need immediate transplanting. There are good reasons for transplanting right away, however. First of all, you are already at the garden center and can select a pot that is the right size and compliments the plant you’re bringing home. Secondly, once you get that plant in its new container, you can place it in your house and enjoy its growth without worrying that it’s getting root bound. And finally, with a bit more – but not too much – root room, that plant should continue to grow well from the day you bring it home.
Here are some tips for repotting a new houseplant.
After repotting, water your new plant well and let the excess water drain into a sink. Then put the pot on a saucer in its new location. Wait for a couple of months before starting to apply any nutrients, as your new plant has come from the grower well fertilized.
Note that the continually popular succulents don’t need to be repotted very often, but they do look better in clay containers or other decorative pots.
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