It can seem a daunting task – having to repot your plants. Luckily, we have some tips and tricks to help with the process and ensure it is a success!
First of all, just because you are repotting a plant does not mean that you have to get an entirely new planter. Often, repotting is simply changing the soil/potting mix that is already in the planter. This is handy if you are particularly fond of your planter, but you can also purchase a new one if you wish.
Suppose you are looking for a new planter. In that case, we recommend keeping the size to about 2 inches in diameter if you purchase a planter for your tabletop and around 4 inches in diameter for planters on the floor. For small plants that need repotting, you may only need to get a new planter that is 1 inch larger than the previous!
Size is important when looking at repotting; when the plant is moved to a larger pot that holds more soil, it will be getting watered more often. If you have a small plant that you have placed in a large planter with a large amount of soil and then add lots of water on top, you might end up killing your plant! Ideally, your plant should not be swimming in excess soil; you need to leave it room to grow.
When Should You Repot?
Most plants will need to be repotted every 12 to 18 months, but this depends on how much they are growing. Plants that take a while to grow can use the same planter for years and require a soil change now and then. We recommend repotting your plants around Springtime, just in time for the growing season.
Look out for one or more of the signs listed below, as they will let you know when you should repot:
- Roots of the plant are starting to grow through the holes on the bottom of the pot
- The plant is being pushed out of the pot by its roots
- The growth of the plant has slowed (differing from the winter dormancy growth)
- The plant is falling over frequently due to it being too heavy at the top
- The plant is drying out frequently, leading to more waterings
- Plants that are aboveground are taking up to three times their pot space
- A noticeable build-up of salt and minerals, either on the plant or the pot.
Here are the things you will need to repot successfully:
- Your plant, obviously!
- The planter you want to repot into
- A new bag of mix for potting plants
- Some rocks for the bottom, lava rocks work well (this is if your planter does not have drainage holes)
1. The plant must be removed from its current pot.
Place the plant on its side, holding it in a firm grasp by its leaves or stems, and tap on the bottom of the pot a few times until the plant becomes loose. There may be a need to help the plant out a little by giving it a few gentle tugs at the bottom of the stem.
2. Loosen the roots
Using your hands, gently loosen the roots of the plant. If you come across any thin roots longer than the others, you can prune these but make sure to leave thicker roots. If the roots have bound to the plant – meaning that the roots have wound around the base of the plant in tight circles – gently unbind the roots and give them a trim.
3. Remove old potting mix
Remove around a third or a little more of the current potting mix surrounding the plant. It is important to remove the mix as the plant has removed some of the mix’s nutrients, so you need to give it fresh nutrients!
4. Add new potting mix
Pour the fresh potting mix into the planter, making sure to pack it down firmly and remove any air pockets. If the new planter does not have any drainage holes, you should layer the bottom of the pot with lave rocks or something similar such as normal rocks or gravel. You do this so that there is an area for the excess water to gather away from the plant’s roots.
5. Add plant
Place your plant on top of the fresh mix in your new planter, ensuring it is centered in the pot. Add more potting mix around the plant till it feels secure but be mindful not to add too much soil into the planter as the roots need to breathe!
6. Water and enjoy
Make sure the soil on the top is even, and then water the soil well! A plant that has been freshly repotted does not need any fertilizer to help with growth!