Looking after indoor plants can be challenging for some people but keeping them in good health is not as difficult as many think, and a good report and goo a long way. At some point, your average household plant will benefit from repotting – it not only gives them a new lease of life but provides more room for growth.
The Main Reasons for Repotting
There are several reasons why you might be considering giving your plants some new soil to grow in.
The first is that their roots have outgrown the current pot they are in. You can usually tell this when the roots are visible in the holes at the bottom of the pot. This is likely to hamper healthy growth and is something that needs to be rectified.
Another sign that repotting is needed is if water tends to sit at the top of the pot or if it drains away and the soil dries out too quickly. Finally, one big sign is that your plant simply now looks too big for the pot it is in.
When to Repot Your Indoor Plants
It’s important to pick the right time to repot. For most plants, this is when the growing season starts, usually towards the end of the winter and the beginning of spring.
Some plants don’t need to be re-potted often. Succulents like cacti, for example, can survive quite happily in a small pot for many years. Others need to be changed every 12 to 18 months depending on how quickly they are growing.
Younger plants can also grow more quickly and may well need to be potted again soon after you buy them, perhaps after 6 months.
The Art of Re-potting
Once you’ve decided to repot, you’ll need a few tools. The first is a slightly bigger, new pot and the second is some potting mix. Don’t buy a vastly bigger pot for your plant, an inch or so wider than the original should suffice. Some pots come without drainage holes at the bottom so it’s important, if this is the case, to put some in so that your plant doesn’t become waterlogged.
One thing to remember is to give your existing plant a good watering a few days before you transfer it. This will help keep the roots together and maintain its health.
Fill the new pot about a third of the way up with some nutrient-rich potting mix and remove the plant from its existing home. Don’t just pull it straight out – turn the pot over, cupping the plant carefully and squeeze and twist the pot a little to loosen it. It should then drop free and be ready for transfer.
Gently loosen the roots if they seem all bunched up, being careful not to damage them. A little pruning of older roots can also help stimulate more growth.
Once this is done, transfer the plant to its new pot, making sure that it is well centred. You can then add a bit more soil around the sides to give it a secure home. Watering at this point can help the soil settle around the roots but try not to overdo it. After that don’t water it too often at first and allow the plant to settle in the new soil.