Time To Repot Houseplants

Time To Repot Houseplants

I find that the early spring is a great time to repot houseplants. Since the days are getting longer this is giving all plants the signal that it’s time to grow, and if you put some of your plants out for “summer camp” in late May, they will be well adjusted to their new digs by then. Additionally, we will be busier in our outdoor landscapes once the weather is warmer, so it’s great to have the indoor plants settled before we’re called outside into the garden.

Here are some tips for repotting your houseplants:

  1. Choose a pot that is one size larger than the pot your plant is currently in. Do not be tempted to get a much, much larger size in that this will put too much damp soil around the root ball…better to just step up the size to an inch or two larger in all directions.
  2. Fill the bottom of the pot with soil. Don’t put rocks “for drainage,” or shards in the bottom and don’t cover the hole with a seashell, screen or coffee filter. (See C.L.’s book, Coffee For Roses, about this garden myth!)  Use new potting mix. If you want to mix some organic or time-release fertilizer into the mix before you pot the plants up, that’s fine.
  3. It’s not always necessary to pull the roots to loosen them but if you see that the rootball is really congested and you can’t see any of the ends of the roots, by all means pull gently on the bottom of the rootball to free some of the roots. Although this spider plant that Marsha was repotting was very root bound, you could see the ends of the roots and these will grow into the new soil just fine without being disturbed by pulling or breaking the rootball.

This spider plant had more roots than dirt in the small pot it was growing in, so Marsha, in our greenhouse, was repotting today.

Marsha placed the plant in the soil and pressed gently to settle the plant in. Do not push too hard because you’ll press the air out of the mix. Plants need air spaces in their growing media so that the water drains well and their roots can easily grow into the new soil.

Here is the plant in its new pot, sitting next to the pot it used to be in. This plant was so root bound that Marsha had to cut the old pot in order to take it out. If a plant is very root bound, you might have to cut or break the old container.

4. Once your plant is in it’s new container water it well and place it back where you were growing it before.

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