When your little green friends are not so little anymore it’s time to get them a fresher living arrangement. “Potting up” or re-potting the soil in your plants can work wonders for them. Here’s a few tips about how to re-pot indoor plants to ensure they’re as happy and healthy as possible.
Season changes are a great time to fix your friend up with new “digs”. In fact you do not always need to move your plant into a new container each season change, simply renewing the soil in their pot will keep them thriving. Re-potting your plant into the same container works wonders by refreshing the soil and freeing up root space. Potting up should only be done when your plant has become root bound or overcrowded in its container.
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How To Re-pot Indoor Plants
1 – Water your plant thoroughly a day or two before you plan to re-pot. This will make it easier to get your plant out of its pot, and ensure that it is hydrated, which reduces the risk of shock.
2 – Gently remove the plant from its pot. Depending on the size and the degree to which it is root bound, you may have to turn the pot on its side, or have a friend hold the pot while you grab the plant. For highly root bound plants, slide a butter knife around the perimeter of the pot to loosen roots.
3 – Gently loosen the root ball. Shake away excess soil, taking care not to damage the tender roots. Clip off any brown, black or visibly damaged roots with sharp shears. For highly root bound plants, or if you plan to just re-pot without potting up into a bigger plant, trim up to ⅔ of the root mass starting with the bottom and sides of the plant.
4 – If re-potting only, dump remaining soil from the pot, and clean away sediments with hot water. If potting up, choose a clean new pot that is no more than 2” in diameter larger than your plant’s old home – too much space slows growth and can lead to root rot.
5 – Add .5” of pebbles or charcoal to the bottom of your pot (optional, but encouraged if there is no drainage hole), and begin adding a layer of fresh potting soil to the bottom of the pot so that the base of the plant will be about .5” below the rim of the pot.
6 – Place your plant in the new pot and fill in with soil until all roots are covered and air. Firm soil gently to ensure that there are no air pockets, but take care not to crush delicate roots. Water lightly so that the new soil is moist, but not sopping wet.
What To Do After You Re-pot Your Plant
After re-potting or potting up, plants tend to enter a period of shock. Don’t worry – it’s normal! Plants may appear wilted and thirsty, but take care to refrain from watering until about a week after re-potting to ensure that any roots damaged during re-potting have healed. During the recovery period, place plants in a cooler, shadier spot.
Most potting soil contains fertilizer. To prevent from over-fertilizing and damaging your plant, you can hold off on fertilizing for about 6 weeks after re-potting.