Are you an avid plant enthusiast but always horrified at the idea of moving plants to a larger container? Well, not anymore. It is true that the lack of knowledge about the process can lead to you making major mistakes. An incorrect methodology hinders the healthy growth of your plant and makes matters worse. Read on to understand how to move your container plant to a larger container with the right method.
Importance of Repotting
Repotting indoor plants is crucial for maintaining their health and promoting new growth. It’s time to repot your plant when a plant develops root rot, begins to occupy more space than the soil does, or start to extend over the edge of the plant pot or out of the drainage holes. But you don’t have to wait till the roots have developed to this stage to move your favorite plant to a different container. Repotting should be done every three to four years although, remember to research your specific plant type before you make the switch. This is a quick and practical technique to prolong plant life and update the appearance of the plant arrangement.
Before repotting, you have the option to remove the soil from the plant. Run the roots under a gentle stream of water to wash away the old soil. This is especially important when the plant has a previous history of diseases or pests.
Avoid tugging the roots as this can damage the plant. If the soil is clumped-up against the roots, soak them in a container filled with water. Do not submerge the plant’s foliage and gently rub the roots with your fingers to remove the soil, then repot in fresh soil.
You probably have most of the materials you need to repot your container plants; if not, you can find them at your local garden center. Here are some essentials that you must keep handy:
- Pruning scissors
- Pot with Drainage Holes (2 to 4 inches larger than the current container)
- Mister/Spray bottle
Making the Move
Follow these steps when moving your container plants to a larger planter to avoid root damage and future complications.
Step 1 – Prepare the Plant
It’s important to first moisten the soil of the plant that has to be moved. Add some water to the current pot and let it sit for about a day to allow the soil to soften. Cut the visible roots that might be sticking out through the drainage holes or rotting away. Always use clean, sharp, and disinfected pruning tool or a pair of scissors when handling your plants.
Although pruning is beneficial, don’t go overboard! Only cut through the roots that are unhealthy or excessively long. Pay special attention to roots that look rotten. Root rot appears darker in color with a distinct bad smell and a visible unhealthy appearance. Now is the best time to get rid of them.
Step 2 – Pick a New Container
Select a pot that is about 2 to 3 inches larger in diameter than the original container. A terracotta or clay pot offers extra drainage whereas plastic pots help retain moisture. Consider your plant type and its specific care requirements when picking a new home for your green friend.
The container should also include drainage holes. The ventilation allows the soil to drain well while offering the roots enough air. Most plants cannot tolerate stagnated water and the roots will immediately rot. In other words, unhealthy roots lead to unhealthy plants.
Step 3 – Prepare the Potting Mix
The potting mixture you make depends upon the specific plant requirements. Remember, your plant goes through a stressful phase when adapting to a new home. Thus, you must be sure to provide it with a quality potting mix.
A monstera plant demands an organic potting mix whereas most succulents demand a potting blend made from materials like perlite. Evaluate the precise need of your plant as the soil mix determines its growth. You can add compost to further elevate the quality of your soil as it carries essential nutrients that are important for your plant’s growth.
Step 4 – Remove the Plant
Gently squeeze the sides to break up the soil and roots. Do this step carefully as you do not want the root ball to break away at this stage. If you are having a tough time during the extraction, cautiously move a knife along the sides of the container. Now invert the plant and gently wiggle the root ball out of the container keeping it intact. Be sure to place your hand on the soil’s surface to support the plant.
Step 5 – Add the Plant and Soil
The fresh potting soil should be added to the new container and gently pressed around the plant before placing it inside. If you are using an old terracotta or clay pot, you must clean it to avoid possible bacterial buildup. Soak the pot in a 1:10 solution of bleach and water for a day before giving it a good rinse. This step helps sanitize the pot well before you can move on to filling in the soil.
Don’t pack the soil too firmly, just enough to keep it from settling. To prevent an overflow when you water it, leave a space of about an inch or two between the soil and the top of the container. Do not fret, you can add more soil if the need arises. Now gently spread out or break up the bottom of the root ball with your fingers. This encourages the new soil to better absorb nutrients. Place the plant into the pot and fill up the side with more soil until the plant sits well. Add some water into the pot and continue caring for your plant as usual.
Viola, it is done! Stay tuned to watch your plant flourish and look ever fresh in its new home.
You Are Well-Equipped!
Every plant enthusiast’s skillset should include the ability to successfully repot container plants. It’s a simple yet important approach to maintaining strong and healthy green lives. The process indeed feels daunting in the beginning however, a little practice should lead you on the way to smooth repotting each time!
Do not forget to share this important piece of knowledge with fellow-plant parents. Also, do you know of any other tips that are useful when moving plants to larger containers? List them down in the comments below.