In this article, you’ll learn when and how to repot a plant including the 7 telltale signs that your plant needs repotting.
More and more people are discovering the joy of growing plants in containers and with plant containers coming in so many different shapes, colors and sizes, they represent the ideal solution when a splash of color is needed indoors, or in a confined outdoor space.
When you buy a plant it’s usually growing in a container that’s relatively small. This means the space available for the plant’s roots to continue growing while gathering moisture and nutrients is limited.
If plants remain in their original containers, then it’s only a matter of time before the roots system runs out of room.
When this occurs and the plant is not carefully managed, they become what is termed “root bound” and need to be repotted.
This raises two key questions;
- Do all plants in containers need repotting? and;
- How do you know when repotting is needed?
What to Repot
Plants that produce vigorous growth, as well as those that flower over an extended period or produce fruits, also produce vigorous roots.
Plants with vigorous roots will quickly use the space available and will need repotting.
Some plants by nature are slow growing ( eg camellias, azaleas).
If this is the case then it may be three to four years before containers are completely filled with roots.
Eventually slow growing plants will also need repotting.
Best Time to Repot a Plant
Repotting is best undertaken just when plants begin a period of strong growth.
For most plants, this will be either early in spring or early in autumn.
Early spring time is usually recommended for large plants in big containers.
This provides plenty of time for the plant’s root system to re-establish itself, before being subjected to the stresses that occur when temperatures begin to climb in summer.
7 Telltale Signs Your Plant Needs Repotting
- Normal vigorous growth begins to slow down
- Leaves that are normally dark green, turn light green
- Old leaves on plants prematurely turn yellow and drop
- You can see roots poking through the container’s drainage holes
- The potting mix dries out more quickly than normal
- Water runs over the surface of the root ball rather than soaking into the topsoil
- The plant begins to wilt which may be a sign of congested roots
Repotting Plants Is Easy
Begin by soaking each plant in a seaweed solution. If outdoors, then repotting is best done in the shade.
Remove the plant from its container. Small and medium sized plants can be tipped upside down using one hand to carefully support the plant and the other to remove the containers.
Use secateurs to remove any roots growing around the root ball. At the same time, remove half an inch or so of potting mix at the top and bottom of the root ball.
Plants that produce medium growth should be repotted in a slightly larger container.
Make sure that your new pot has drainage holes.
Those producing vigorous growth should be moved into a container that is 50% larger than the original.
Place enough potting mix in the base or the new container to restore the root ball to the height it was before repotting.
Fill any spaces around the root ball with the type of potting mix recommended in the Indoor Plant Center article for your specific plant.
Water thoroughly (as per the watering instructions recommended in the Indoor Plant Center article for your plant) and allow the plant to recover for three or four days in a well-lit position way from direct sunlight.
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